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10 Most Awkward Olympic Opening Ceremony Moments in Beijing



The 2022 Winter Olympics have officially kicked off in Beijing, China and the situation is awkward at best. The United States has been joined by the entire western world in formally accusing China of committing genocide against the Uyghur minority race including systematic imprisonment and murder. The United States first officially declared the Chinese oppression of the Uyghurs (or Uighurs in some spelling) a genocide on the last day of the Trump administration and was the first nation in the world to do so. However, the Biden administration cowardly withdrew the accusation in the first month of his administration. But when President Trump’s very true accusation turned out to be as true as he said it was and the rest of the world got on board, the Biden administration reversed course facing pressure from European allies to implement formal sanctions. 

On top of the situation with the systematic murder of a race of Chinese people, the Chinese government is also advancing hostilities against the independent nations of Hong Kong and Taiwan which the nation of China is increasingly considering their own territories. It is unclear with what force China is willing to use to reclaim those territories. 

Further, close Chinese ally (maybe?) Russia, is at the center of the world stage with at least the perception that they are advancing military action in Ukraine. The official position of all countries involved is extremely….confusing? It is very unclear if anyone thinks Russia is really going to invade, including Russia. But it’s an uncomfortable situation

So there is a lot to unpack with the whole “Chinese Olympics” situation. Who knows why the International Olympic Committee even agreed to let Beijing have another Olympics in the first place. This all made for a pretty awkward opening celebration. 

Here are the 10 most awkward moments from the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing: 

  1. Nancy Pelosi asking Americans not to speak out against China

Before the ceremony, Pelosi advised Americans not to “speak out” against China for fear that China would get mad about it and maybe harm them. Translation? America has no intention of protecting its own people abroad in China representing the United States even though we refused to cancel athlete participation. Awkward, Nancy.

  1. 400 unmasked dancers while 20 million Chinese are locked down because of COVID-19

Don’t get me wrong: masking is stupid. But it’s a little awkward indeed that China has locked millions of citizens in their homes and closed down cities over COVID-19 concerns (ostensibly) AND had all attendees wear masks and social distance but for some reason though 400 dancers standing right on top of eachother making a laser dandelion was totally fine.

  1. Having all 50 ethnic minorities pass the Chinese flag to the Chinese military 

Considering the Chinese military and police stand accused of murdering at least one of those ethnic minorities, this little display of unity is hella awkward. 

  1. When Taiwan aka Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong marched in the parade of Olympians one after the other 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) actually forced China to recognize these teams and had to assemble them by hand to ensure their entry. “Chinese Taipei” was a long embattled compromise between the IOC and China but there was no room for negotiation on Hong Kong being represented as their own independent nation (because they are). The reception for the Taiwanese athletes was chillier than the stadium, though Hong Kong did feel a warmer welcome. Very awkward for all. 

  1. The Ukraine/Russia narrative being peddled by the media (or also maybe true?)

NBC showed the Ukrainian delegation enter and immediately panned to the disapproving Vladimir Putin in the stands followed by what appeared to be their flag bearer waving directly at him. In protest? In friendship? Even at him at all? Very unclear. All whatever the Russian word for awkward is.

  1. Putin smiling over his athletes dressed in….is that camo? 

It appears that the technically unaffiliated athletes from Russia (still being punished for a state sponsored doping scandal) arrived to parade in China wearing snow camo which paints a pretty militarized picture all things considered. Putin welcomed them with a happy wave which is a big departure from his seemingly grumpy and disapproving glare at the Ukranians. All of which lends itself to the whole Russia v Ukraine WWIII narrative. That camo is not disguising how awkward they’re being.

  1. Nathan Crumpton from American Samoa 

The stadium was a reported 19 degrees fahrenheit but Nathan Crumpton of American Samoa could not be stopped. Shirtless and glistening he marched in as the only athlete from his nation. Crumpton is an Olympic regular having competed for American Samoa and team U.S.A. in the past. His shiny abs in the freezing air might be a little awkward, but still: USA USA USA!

  1. All the little girls running around 

China didn’t alter its policy which only allowed one child per household until 2016. The result of the policy which lasted three decades was the murder of truly countless (millions) of baby girls in China. Additionally, the Chinese state forced women to be sterilized, use contraception and undergo abortions against their will in a systematic abuse of civil rights and human decency. During this time, 80% of Chinese women were forced to be sterilized or have an IUD implanted. These policies for women remain in place though the child limit has been raised from one to three per family. So for China to humble brag on their little girls is awkward to say the very least.

  1. Chinese police literally forcibly removing any media they feel may be critical of the party

Welp. Awkward. 

  1. Using an alleged Uyghur athlete to light the Olympic torch 

Dinigeer Yilamujiang (female athlete) is, according to the Chinese state sponsored media, a member of the Uyghur ethnic group. She was chosen as a way to somehow idiotically disprove that China is definitely systematically imprisoning and murdering the Uryghur people. It of course proves absolutely nothing and was instead just super awkward.