Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony kicks off below a cloud of controversy

Beijing — The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony formally kicked off the Video games on Friday, however not with out controversy. China has obtained widespread criticism over human rights abuses, together with the therapy of democratic activists and ethnic minorities within the nation.

However for the a whole lot of athletes who’ve been sealed inside Beijing’s tight anti-coronavirus Olympic “bubble” for days already, the main target was on profitable, and it has been for days: The precise sporting occasions started days in the past, earlier than the opening ceremony.

As Newsplaneta Information correspondent Jamie Yuccas studies, the Chinese language Nationwide Stadium, often known as the “Hen’s Nest,” was crammed on Friday with athletes from all around the world. However it was brief on diplomats: The U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.Okay. all refused to ship the customary diplomatic delegation to Beijing in protest of China’s human rights violations.

Journey to the Winter Olympics


Opening ceremony organizers hoped that politics can be ignored so they might broadcast their imaginative and prescient and theme for the Video games to the world: “Collectively a shared future.”

Because the opening ceremony parade of countries received underway on Friday contained in the Hen’s Nest, there was an uncommon twist for Crew USA. Teammates selected curling legend John Shuster and bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor as flagbearers, however Brittany Bowe did the precise strolling for Meyers Taylor as she was caught in a Chinese language isolation resort after testing optimistic for COVID-19.

However even denied the chance to hold the flag, Meyers Taylor informed Yuccas it was an honor to be chosen.

U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor.

Enterprise Wire/AP

“I am tremendous excited,” she informed Newsplaneta Information on a video name from her resort. “I come from a navy household. I am a first-generation immigrant, and so to have all that historical past and to know what the American flag means to my household, like, it’s enormous to be requested to hold it.”

Meyers Taylor lately spoke out after critics mentioned she and different athletes ought to boycott the Video games over China’s human rights document. In an op-ed for USA Right this moment, she acknowledged the issues however wrote: “To go to Beijing and compete — as an American, a lady, an individual of coloration and as a particular wants guardian — says greater than any boycott may.” 

Beijing is the primary metropolis to host each a summer season and winter Olympics, and every has carried controversy over human rights abuses. Chinese language authorities have countered by saying governments should not convey politics into the Olympics.

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony
Fireworks explode over the Nationwide Stadium in the course of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, February 4, 2022, in Beijing, China.

Brynn Anderson/AP

Whereas it could be straightforward to say that sports activities, particularly on the degree of the Olympics, shouldn’t be politicized, there are lots of people in sports activities who’ve an opinion, and one veteran American journalist in China says it is unimaginable to separate the 2.

“The very fact is that sports activities has been political from the start of time, and each Olympics has had a component of politics in it,” New York Instances Beijing bureau chief Steven Lee Myers informed Yuccas.

Individuals to observe at Winter Olympics


The Video games have been underway for a pair days.

On Friday morning, U.S. medal hopeful Nathan Chen skated flawlessly in his brief program, a part of the staff occasion. And whereas the U.S. ladies’s hockey staff beat Finland of their opener, they misplaced a significant participant for the event when ahead Briana Decker went down with a painful harm to her decrease leg.

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