Uigurs light the Olympic flame in Beijing

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and boycotts, the 24th Winter Olympics opened at the “bird’s nest” national stadium in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Friday.

Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Zhao Jiawen lit the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Friday.
The national arena lights up before this year’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony to officially open the Olympics.

Now 16 days of winter games await. They are divided into 15 different sports and have a total of 109 exercises for 91 countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was in charge of the official opening, while the fire was lit by joint athlete Zhao Jiawen and cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang. The latter are Uighurs and are from the Xinjiang Province.

The Dinigeer Choice quickly received a lot of publicity. China has long been heavily criticized for its treatment of the country’s Uighur Muslim minority.

IOC President Thomas Bach (L), hands over the Olympic flame to Abdulla Shahid, president of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

Putin in the stands

Lights shine from the national arena during the Winter Olympics opening ceremony exams in Beijing, China.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers have decided that the opening ceremony should be “simple, safe and extraordinary”. Although this time there was also a lavish light and effect show, the contrast to the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was stark.

At that time, the show was performed by 15,000 people – this year it was reduced to 3,000 people.

Despite the diplomatic boycott of some countries, there is a good choice of international leaders next to President Xi in the stands. Russian President Vladimir Putin stands out as the most prominent.

The United States, Britain, Canada and Australia were among the countries that did not send official representatives to Beijing in protest at the Olympic hosts’ lack of respect for human rights.

Jansrud flag bearer

Kjetil Jansrud and Kristin Skaslien lead the Norway squad during the opening ceremony of the 24th Winter Olympics, which opens in Beijing on Friday.

Alpinist Kjetil Jansrud and curler Kristin Skaslien had the honor of carrying the Norwegian flag to the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, in front of part of the Norway squad, consisting of 84 athletes.

Norway entered the arena as number 51 out of a total of 91 countries. Greece entered the stadium first, followed by Turkey and Malta. As usual, the procession was ended by the host.

Of the other Scandinavian countries, Denmark is number 13, Finland is number 37 and Sweden is number 78. China, as the host, is in last place. Countries enter the arena according to the Chinese character.

Torch relay

Due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus, the torch relay at the Olympics is shorter than usual. According to tradition, the Olympic flame was transported from Olympia in Greece to China. It happened all the way back in October.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), takes part in the torch relay and hands the flames to the President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shaid.

“This is a symbol that the world needs in this time of division and confrontation,” said the 68-year-old German.

1000 people carry the Olympic torch around Beijing and into the Chinese capital. This includes Zhangjiakou, where most of Norway’s athletes and leaders live and compete during the Olympics.

First time

Beijing was the first city to host the Summer and Winter Olympics. Haiti and Saudi Arabia are the new participating countries at the Winter Olympics.

Seven new exercises have been added to this year’s Winter Olympics: big air in freestyle for men and women, monobob for women, mixed competition in freestyle, mixed competition in ski jumping, mixed competition in snowboardcross and mixed relay in short track skating.

Henrietta Fairbank

"Amateur analyst. Zombie geek. Hardcore troublemaker. Internet expert. Incurable twitter fanatic."

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