It was about 10 minutes before puck drop in the much-anticipated unified Korea women’s hockey team debut, when the North Korean cheerleaders stole the show.
Kanye West blared on the arena speakers, and the cheer squad of young North Korean women decked out in matching red and white outfits decided it was time for their first routine.
They waved small unified Korean Peninsula flags, and swayed in unison and sung “ban gap seup nee da,” or nice to meet you.
The crowd was instantly transfixed.
“It felt like I was competing in my own country,” Jong Su Hyon, one of 12 North Koreans on the joint team’s roster, said of the atmosphere following Korea’s lopsided defeat to Switzerland.
Others love 'em:
North Korea’s cheerleaders seem to be enjoying the Winter Olympics more than the athletes. They’re having a ball if pictures taken of them at the event in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are anything to go by.
The latest images showed several members from to 200 strong team wearing masks as they cheered on the unified Korean hockey team. Around 75 North Korean cheerleaders dressed in matching red with white caps made noise during a preliminary game against Switzerland in Gangneung.
Some people thought it looked a bit weird but they seemed to be having fun so we can’t be too down on them. The story of the Winter Olympics so far has been the united front the two Korean countries have showed.
There's nothing united about the two Koreas, of course. Kim Jong Un would wipe out Seoul in a heartbeat if he weren't aware that he'd be wiped out himself in the next heartbeat. It's easier to send out the cheerleaders and pretend things aren't what they are:
You can find amusing examples of videos that poke fun of this sort of thing, like this one:
It's not really amusing, though. And we shouldn't be encouraging the North Koreans.