The action is underway at the 2022 Winter Olympics, but things won’t pick up in earnest until after Friday’s opening ceremony.
Known as the official start of the Games, the opening ceremony brings together all the competing nations for an exciting event that features music, dancing, fireworks and more. This year’s ceremony is being held at Beijing National Stadium, which was also the site of the opening ceremony for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Each participating country could choose up to two athletes (one man and one woman) to be its flag-bearers. Their teammates will follow them for the parade of nations, which is held at the start of every Olympics.
Here’s everything else you need to know for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Opening Ceremony Information
Date: Friday, Feb. 4
Start Time: 6:30 a.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports app, NBCOlympics.com and Peacock
Albania: Denni Xhepa (Alpine skiing)
Andorra: Maeva Estevez (snowboarding)
Argentina: Francesca Baruzzi (Alpine skiing) and Franco Dal Farra (cross-country skiing)
Australia: Laura Peel (freestyle skiing) and Brendan Kerry (figure skating)
Azerbaijan: Vladimir Litvintsev (figure skating)
Belgium: Loena Hendrickx (figure skating) and Armand Marchant (Alpine skiing)
Bulgaria: Maria Zdravkova (biathlon) and Radoslav Yankov (snowboarding)
Canada: Marie-Philip Poulin (ice hockey) and Charles Hamelin (short track speedskating)
China: Zhao Dan (skeleton) and Gao Tingyu (speedskating)
Denmark: Madeleine Dupont (curling) and Frans Nielsen (ice hockey)
Ecuador: Sarah Escobar (Alpine skiing)
Estonia: Kelly Sildaru (freestyle skiing) and Martin Himma (cross-country skiing)
France: Tessa Worley (Alpine skiing) and Kevin Rolland (freestyle skiing)
Georgia: Nino Tsiklauri (Alpine skiing) and Morisi Kvitelashvili (figure skating)
Ghana: Carlos Mader (Alpine skiing)
Hungary: Zita Toth (Alpine skiing) and Marton Kekesi (Alpine skiing)
Iran: Atefeh Ahmadi (Alpine skiing) and Sattar Seid (cross-country skiing)
Ireland: Elsa Desmond (luge) and Brendan Newby (freestyle skiing)
Italy: Michela Moioli (snowboarding)
Japan: Arisa Go (speed skating) and Akito Watabe (nordic combined)
Kazakhstan: Yekaterina Aidova (speedskating) and Abzal Azhgaliyev (short track speedskating)
Latvia: Eliza Tiruma (luge) and Lauris Darziņs (ice hockey)
Malaysia: Jeffrey Webb (Alpine skiing)
Malta: Jenise Spiteri (snowboarding)
Mexico: Sarah Schleper (Alpine skiing) and Donovan Carrillo (figure skating)
Moldova: Doina Descalui (luge)
Monaco: Arnaud Alessandria (Alpine skiing)
Netherlands: Lindsay van Zundert (figure skating) and Kjeld Nuis (speed skating)
North Macedonia: Ana Cvetanovska (cross-country skiing) and Dardan Dehari (Alpine skiing)
Philippines: Asa Miller (Alpine skiing)
Poland: Aleksandra Krol (snowboarding) and Zbigniew Brodka (speed skating)
Puerto Rico: Kellie Delka (skeleton) and William Flaherty (Alpine skiing)
Romania: Raluca Stramaturaru (luge) and Paul Pepene (cross-country skiing)
Slovenia: Ilka Stuhec (Alpine skiing) and Zan Kosir (snowboarding)
South Korea: Kim Min-sun (speed skating) and Kwak Yoon-gy (short track speed skating)
Spain: Queralt Castellet (snowboarding) and Ander Mirambell (skeleton)
United States: Brittany Bowe (speed skating) and John Shuster (curling)
This year’s opening ceremony in Beijing may have a similar feel to the one that opened the 2008 Summer Olympics in China’s capital city. However, it’s going to be on a smaller scale.
Zhang Yimou, a Chinese film director, orchestrated the 2008 opening ceremony, which featured 15,000 performers. In 2022, he will again be in charge, but this time, there will only be 3,000 performers during the 100-minute show, according to Chan Kin-wa of the South China Morning Post.
Not only will the group of performers be smaller, but they will also be younger. Yanis Varoufakis of MNA International noted that 95 percent of the performers will be teenagers.
The show will “illustrate three major themes of world peace,” per Chan Kin-wa, as the official slogan of this year’s Winter Olympics is “together for a shared future.”
Just like the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on the opening ceremony. Only select spectators will be allowed to attend, none of whom will be from outside of China. That will also be the case for events throughout the Winter Games.
On Wednesday, the United States announced that speedskater Brittany Bowe and curler John Shuster will represent the nation as the flag-bearers at the opening ceremony. Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor was originally supposed to join Shuster in leading the way for Team USA, but she tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s always a special honor to be a flag-bearer for the host nation, and this year, Zhao Dan (skeleton) and Gao Tingyu (speed skating) will get that opportunity for China. This is the first time that the Winter Olympics have taken place in the country.
Once the Winter Olympics are complete, athletes will return to Beijing National Stadium for the closing ceremony, which is set for Feb. 20.