A collection of smaller, yet interesting moments from the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022

From the Chinese Spring to the name of the 1960 Games, via the French display: small pearls from the opening ceremony.

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2022 Beijing Olympics - Opening Ceremony - National Stadium, Beijing, China - February 4, 2022. Performers stand as athletes of France walk during the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Toby Melville
2022 Beijing Olympics - Opening Ceremony - National Stadium, Beijing, China - February 4, 2022. Performers stand as athletes of France walk during the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Among the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremony, there were some smaller moments that caught the attention of Around the Rings.

- SPRING IN WINTER: The first was the focus on spring during the beginning of the ceremony. It was an odd choice to feature nods to both spring and summer in a ceremony dedicated to a winter sporting event. Beijing 2022 organizers said their reasoning for including spring in the opening ceremony was to reflect “Lichun.” Lichun, also known as the Beginning of Spring, “is a celebration of the coming of Spring in a season of freezing temperatures and snow,” according to organizers. “Chinese people believe that the extreme cold often breeds new life.”

- SQUAW VALLEY: The second small curiosity was the name chosen to represent the host city of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. During a montage of past host cities prior to the athletes’ parade, Lake Tahoe was displayed as the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics. This represented a change from the name originally used to identify the ski resort that hosted the Games, Squaw Valley.

As reported by the Around the Rings in September, the owners of the Californian ski resort chose to do away with the original name of the resort after it was decided the term “squaw” was derogatory to Native Americans. Palisades Tahoe was chosen as the resort’s new name, but Beijing 2022 organizers chose to go with the geographic name of the region instead.

- CHINESE TAIPEI: Another point of interest in the opening ceremony was the entrance of Chinese Taipei. The team representing the island of Taiwan had made international news in the run up to the opening ceremony after it was announced the island’s delegation would not participate in the opening ceremony.

The decision to skip the ceremony was officially made due to flight delays and pandemic countermeasures. However, the decision was made shortly after a Chinese official referred to the team as “Taipei, China,” instead of the previously agreed upon and used, “Chinese Taipei.”

Ultimately, Taiwanese officials decided to reverse their original decision and send a delegation to the opening ceremony at the behest of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Taiwan entered the National Stadium during the opening ceremony under the banner of Chinese Taipei, and in front of Hong Kong, China.

2022 Beijing Olympics - Opening Ceremony - National Stadium, Beijing, China - February 4, 2022. Chinese Taipei contingent is seen during the athletes parade at the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
2022 Beijing Olympics - Opening Ceremony - National Stadium, Beijing, China - February 4, 2022. Chinese Taipei contingent is seen during the athletes parade at the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

- VIVE LA FRANCE: The entrance of the French delegation during the athletes’ parade provided two moments of interest.

The first was the formation in which the French athletes entered. They came into the National Stadium in a “v” formation. Coincidentally, the formation happened to resemble the newly adopted logo of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee. It’s unclear if this action was purposefully orchestrated, or merely a coincidence, but it was eye-catching nonetheless.

Second was the flag toss between the two French flagbearers. In the early days of the Olympic Games, opening ceremonies were known for being formal affairs. However, Tessa Worley and Kevin Rolland provided a looser environment in Beijing when the two tossed the French between each other while sharing flagbearer duties.

Athletes provided other light-hearted moments as well, with the Jamaican delegation dancing their way into the stadium, and two Portuguese athletes imitating Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous goal celebration during their moment in the spotlight.

The athletes’ parade also offered an unfortunate reminder of the Covid-19 pandemic when a volunteer paraded into the National Stadium with the flag of the US Virgin Islands. The territory’s single athlete, Katie Tannenbaum, tested positive for Covid-19, and thus was unable to attend the opening ceremony. Nonetheless, her country’s flag was still flown during the ceremony.

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