The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games kicked off with a grand opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Beijing Feb. 4, signaling the start of the global winter sports jubilee.
The floor of the 11,600-square-meter central stage of Beijing National Stadium was decorated with LED screens, making the event more attractive and vibrant.
However, some events sparked controversy among Koreans who watched on TV, including when Hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) appeared in a segment dealing with ethnic minorities in China during the main event.
A pre-ceremony video about the cultures of cities in China also showed a person playing Janggu, a traditional Korean musical instrument, and a person spinning Sangmo (a hat used in a traditional Korean dance) appeared.
The official countdown for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics began with “24,” because it is the 24th Winter Olympic Games.
In addition, in East Asia, one year has 24 divisions, including the spring equinox, the summer solstice, autumn equinox, and the winter solstice.
Immediately after grand fireworks lit up the sky, the Chinese national flag was hoisted. As citizens raised the flag, other people sang the Chinese national anthem.
The Five Olympic Rings that usually decorate the highlights of the opening ceremony appeared under the theme of “Ice Breaking.” After highlights of the previous Olympics were shown, a video showed ice hockey players braking the ice with a puck.
Then the five rings appeared on the broken ice, heating up the atmosphere of the opening ceremony.
National teams from around the world began to enter Beijing National Stadium at the event.
The Greek National Team entered first, as Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games. The South Korean team entered 73rd among 91 countries in the order of simplified Chinese characters of country names.
With pink-haired Kwak Yoon-ki and Kim Ah-lang entering together with a large Korean national flag, other Korean national athletes and executives also entered together, dressing up in team uniforms expressing Korea’s winter mountain ranges.
Kim and Kwak jumped in step with each other as they were excited during their entrance, adding joy to their teammates.
The evening’s torch lighting segment, the highlight of the opening ceremony, involved the ignition of the smallest-ever torch stand in Olympic history.
More than 600 children with pigeon models gathered around the snowflakes that were created earlier to form a heart shape.
When the sporting competitions proceeded, some pointed out China’s strict quarantine measures and bad treatment of quarantine players.
A Russian biathlon who had been quarantined at the hotel after testing positive for COVID-19 complained on social media that he had difficulties due to the hotel’s poor diet.
A polish short track skater was quarantined twice due to errors in COVID-19 infection tests and later complained, “I can’t believe anything now.” Some experts said that quarantine standards for athletes were unreasonable.
As of Feb. 18, South Korea ranked 14th in the medal standings with two gold medals, four silver medal and one bronze medal. Korean short track skaters won the two gold medals despite unfavorable conditions.
Media outlets and sports fans around the world called into question a dubious decision which disqualified South Korean and Hungarian short track skaters in the men’s 1,000m speed skating event on Feb. 7.
The Korean gold medalists were Hwang Dae-heon and Choi Min-jeong, both of whom skated first in men’s and women’s 1,500-meter short track races.