Beijing Olympics: Opening Ceremony kicks off the 2022 Winter Olympics – National
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will begin on Friday with an opening ceremony that organizers promise will be a “wonderful sight”.
That’s despite shortened run times and fewer participants due to both colder weather and the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be fewer people in the stands and in the parade of nations thanks to both COVID-19 and the diplomatic boycott of several Western nations – including Canada.
Here’s what to expect from the opening ceremony, which kicks off at 7 a.m. ET (8 p.m. local time).
No repeat of 2008
The last time China hosted the Olympics, the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony lasted more than four hours, with more than 15,000 participants, including a massive sea of drums and a spectacular fireworks display.
This year’s ceremony will be very different. Participants have been reduced to just 4,000 people to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the program will end at around two o’clock due to the colder February weather.
The festival will still take place at the Beijing National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest – which also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies in 2008 – and will feature dancers, singers and a fireworks display. like previous ceremonies.
The opening ceremony will also see the Olympic torch lit, signaling the official start of the Games.
Beijing 2022 Olympics: Canada names flag bearers for opening ceremony
COVID-19, diplomatic boycott of participants and spectators
The traditional parade of countries will also be affected by COVID-19, with many athletes having to stay away due to both Beijing’s strict regulations and not wanting to risk contracting the virus before competing.
Audiences will also be limited to smaller groups of selected attendees.
Meanwhile, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and India, among others, have joined a diplomatic boycott, meaning there will be no delegations to support the athletes. from the stands. However, athletes from those countries are still allowed to participate.
Women’s hockey captain Marie-Philip Poulin and short track speed skater Charles Hamelin were named Canada’s flag bearers for the event.
A three-time medalist, Poulin scored the winning goal at both the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. She helped Canada win silver at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Hamelin, 37, from Sainte-Julie Que., is a five-time Olympic medalist, including three golds, helping him win Canada’s most decorated Men’s Winter Olympics.
In the absence of many G7 superpowers, Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the ceremony and visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Olympics.
China is confident the ceremony will silence critics
The diplomatic boycott was sparked by many controversies over human rights in China, most notably the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and the suppression of pro-democracy protests and Political speech in Hong Kong.
Those and other issues have prompted activists to call for a broader boycott of the Olympics — even its total cancellation. However, China and the International Olympic Committee said the Games would go ahead, with Beijing dismissing criticism of its human rights record.
Beijing Olympics should not be distracted from China’s human rights controversies: experts
Zhao Weidong, a spokesman for the Beijing Olympics, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday when asked if such criticism would sabotage the Games.
“I want to emphasize that the Olympics are a great spectacle for athletes and sports fans around the world. From the current situation, many countries and athletes have expressed their support for the Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said.
“The opening ceremony is tomorrow. I believe that in case the Olympic flame is lit, all this so-called boycott joke will be extinguished,” he added.
How to watch
The ceremony will be televised live by CBC on various platforms.
Since CBC has exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics, Global News will not stream the show.
However, Global will be covering the Games extensively as they unfold over the next two weeks, both online and on its broadcast platforms.
– with files from Reuters
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
https://globalnews.ca/news/8594127/beijing-winter-olympics-opening-ceremony/ Beijing Olympics: Opening Ceremony kicks off the 2022 Winter Olympics – National