The Winter Olympics typically have trouble getting the kind of media attention that their big brother gets during the summer.
But this year, remarkable circumstances have led to an increased interest in the Winter Games.
In what is either a political stunt or a sign of hope for the future, North and South Korea are competing as a unified team at the Winter Games currently taking place in PyeongChang (South Korea).
The opening ceremony kicked off with a headline-grabbing moment when athletes from the two Koreas marching in together, followed by an athlete from each contingent running up the stairs to light the torch.
There has also been plenty of media attention on Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of notorious dictator and lover-of-looking-at-things Kim Jong Un.
Kim Yo Jong when the Americans walk in pic.twitter.com/pVfY4C2dTp
— Stef W. Kight (@StefWKight) February 10, 2018
South Korea President Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, at #PyeongChang2018.
She’s the first member of the North Korean ruling family to visit the south in 65 years. pic.twitter.com/NHCudYJefO
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 9, 2018
The other major point of interest that has the media frothing is the North Korean cheerleaders, who are wowing the world with their enthusiasm and precise cheers. Here they are telling their ice hockey team to Go For It:
At the women’s ice hockey at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, North Koreans cheer: Go for it, go for it, our players, go for it! pic.twitter.com/ELTt4T7VXn
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) February 10, 2018
The hockey team lost 0-8 to Switzerland, but if you got points for cheering, Korea would have won by a margin of one million.
— Thomas Schuurman (@ThomasSchuurman) February 10, 2018
Of course, beneath the perfect cheers, something more sinister lurks. We all know that North Korea is not a Nice Place and that women no doubt suffer under the country’s strict and oppressive regime. Going with Handmaid’s Tale-style red parkas might not have been the best costume choice in hindsight.
It’s likely that these women are some of the lucky ones. AAP reports that the women who make up the cheerleading squad are mostly daughters of the elite upper class and that “women with family members missing or living abroad do not qualify, as they could pose potential flight risks.”
The Washington Post translated some of the squad’s chants, which are mostly innocuous calls for “go team!” or “Nice to meet you!” This little ditty is about having the home country unite:
This is one of the wildest things I have ever witnessed with my own two eyes!! A North Korean cheer sqaud at the Olympics 😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/ijJysVGLXf
— Matt Stopera (@mattstopera) February 10, 2018
But seeing that home country unite could still be pretty far off. The Korean War officially went from 1950 to 1953, but no peace treaty has ever been signed and it is unlikely an Olympics will solve the deep problems that exist between the nations.
Oh well, at least we can enjoy some top-notch cheerleading while we wait.
Lead Image: Gadi Schwartz @GadiNBC (Twitter)