The 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing will officially kick off with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, February 4, 2022. The ceremony will air live at 6:30 a.m. and in an enhanced primetime presentation at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The event will take place in Beijing’s National Stadium. The building nicknamed the Bird’s Nest once hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, also hosted in Beijing, China.
Returning to direct the event is the director of the 2008 Opening Ceremony, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou. According to Olympics.com, the 71-year-old is “the first director to oversee both the Summer and Winter Games with Beijing being the first dual Olympic city ever.”
He previously produced the handover ceremonies for the 2004 Athens and 2018 PyeongChang games.
So how will this ceremony compare to the one in 2008? Who will be performing? What is the theme? Here is what you need to know:
The Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing Will Have Fewer Performers
While the Opening and Closing Ceremonies keep their performances under wraps, this year does promise to be a “simpler affair” according to the Washington Post.
The event is scaled back in many ways, with the outlet reporting the last Beijing Opening Ceremony was nearly four hours long and boasted 15,000 performers. However, this event will be limited to about 100 minutes, largely due to weather conditions and the coronavirus pandemic, with only 3,000 performers. According to Olympics.com, 95% of those performers will be teenagers.
Some fan picks for performers, per Parade, include Dimash Qudaibergen, Zhou Shen and Xiao Zhan.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games Is Going to Be ‘Simple, Safe & Splendid’
The official motto of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, according to Olympics.com, is “Together for a Shared Future.”
That motto falls in line with the “simple, safe and splendid” approach to the Opening Ceremony, Olympics.com quoted Zhang.
“In 2008, the Olympic was a brilliant stage and chance for our country to show ourselves. In fact, there are plenty of pages across our 5,000-year history that we would like to present to the world. Our civilization, our history, and how we got to where we are today,” Zhang told Xinhua. “It’s different now. China’s status in the world, the image of the Chinese, and the rise of our national status, everything is totally different now.”
He continued, “In the wake of the pandemic, the world needs a new and strengthened vision, that is, people of the world come together to face difficulties and look forward to a bright future.”
Bing Dwen Dwen Is the Official Mascot of the Winter Games
A panda named Bing is the official mascot of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
He was unveiled in a September 2019 tweet on the official Beijing 2022 Twitter account, reading, “Bing Dwen Dwen is the official #mascot of Olympic Winter Games #Beijing2022! With a suit of ice, a heart of gold and a love of all things winter sports, this panda is ready to share the true spirit of the #Olympics with the whole world.”
A lantern child named Shuey Rhon Rhon is the official mascot of the Paralympic games, according to Olympics.com.
The site revealed both mascots were created by Cao Xue.
Who Are the Announced Flag Bearers?
Ninety-one countries have sent their best winter athletes to compete in the Beijing 2022 Olympics. As they march around the Bird’s Nest in the parade of nations, each delegation will be led by flag bearers. Every country is allowed one male and one female flag bearer.
According to The Bleacher Report, the following flag bearers have been announced:
- Albania: Denni Xhepa (Alpine skiing)
- Andorra: Maeva Estevez (snowboarding)
- Argentina: Francesca Baruzzi (Alpine skiing) and Franco Dal Farra (cross-country skiing)
- Australia: Laura Peel (freestyle skiing) and Brendan Kerry (figure skating)
- Azerbaijan: Vladimir Litvintsev (figure skating)
- Belgium: Loena Hendrickx (figure skating) and Armand Marchant (Alpine skiing)
- Bulgaria: Maria Zdravkova (biathlon) and Radoslav Yankov (snowboarding)
- Canada: Marie-Philip Poulin (ice hockey) and Charles Hamelin (short-track speedskating)
- China: Zhao Dan (skeleton) and Gao Tingyu (speedskating)
- Denmark: Madeleine Dupont (curling) and Frans Nielsen (ice hockey)
- Ecuador: Sarah Escobar (Alpine skiing)
- Estonia: Kelly Sildaru (freestyle skiing) and Martin Himma (cross-country skiing)
- France: Tessa Worley (Alpine skiing) and Kevin Rolland (freestyle skiing)
- Georgia: Nino Tsiklauri (Alpine skiing) and Morisi Kvitelashvili (figure skating)
- Ghana: Carlos Mader (Alpine skiing)
- Hungary: Zita Toth (Alpine skiing) and Marton Kekesi (Alpine skiing)
- Iran: Atefeh Ahmadi (Alpine skiing) and Sattar Seid (cross-country skiing)
- Ireland: Elsa Desmond (luge) and Brendan Newby (freestyle skiing)
- Italy: Michela Moioli (snowboarding)
- Japan: Arisa Go (speed skating) and Akito Watabe (nordic combined)
- Kazakhstan: Yekaterina Aidova (speedskating) and Abzal Azhgaliyev (short-track speedskating)
- Latvia: Eliza Tiruma (luge) and Lauris Darziņs (ice hockey)
- Malaysia: Jeffrey Webb (Alpine skiing)
- Malta: Jenise Spiteri (snowboarding)
- Mexico: Sarah Schleper (Alpine skiing) and Donovan Carrillo (figure skating)
- Moldova: Doina Descalui (luge)
- Monaco: Arnaud Alessandria (Alpine skiing)
- Netherlands: Lindsay van Zundert (figure skating) and Kjeld Nuis (speed skating)
- North Macedonia: Ana Cvetanovska (cross-country skiing) and Dardan Dehari (Alpine skiing)
- Philippines: Asa Miller (Alpine skiing)
- Poland: Aleksandra Krol (snowboarding) and Zbigniew Brodka (speed skating)
- Puerto Rico: Kellie Delka (skeleton) and William Flaherty (Alpine skiing)
- Romania: Raluca Stramaturaru (luge) and Paul Pepene (cross-country skiing)
- Slovenia: Ilka Stuhec (Alpine skiing) and Zan Kosir (snowboarding)
- South Korea: Kim Min-sun (speed skating) and Kwak Yoon-gy (short track speed skating)
- Spain: Queralt Castellet (snowboarding) and Ander Mirambell (skeleton)
- United States: Brittany Bowe (speed skating) and John Shuster (curling)