Feb 4, 2022 - Sports

In photos: Winter Olympics opening ceremony kicks off Beijing Games

orch bearers Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Jiawen Zhao of Team China light the Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Torchbearers Dinigeer Yilamujiang, who China said has Uyghur roots, and Jiawen Zhao of Team China light the Olympic Cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The Winter Olympics opening ceremony kicked off in Beijing on Friday, becoming the second Games to start during the pandemic.

Why it matters: But unlike in Tokyo last summer, the Beijing Olympics began against a backdrop of concerns about China's strict COVID policies, geopolitical tensions and a U.S. diplomatic boycott over human rights abuses.

  • The opening ceremony — reportedly pared back because of COVID concerns and cold weather — was directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and ran for more than two hours.
  • It was held in Beijing's National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, the same venue that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies during the 2008 Olympics.
In photos:
Torch bearers Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Jiawen Zhao of Team China hold the Olympic flame during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Torchbearers Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Jiawen Zhao of Team China hold the Olympic flame during the Opening Ceremony. Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images
Fireworks light up the sky over Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Fireworks light up the sky over Olympic Stadium. Photo: Jeff Roberson/AP
USA's flag bearers John Shuster and Elana Meyers Taylor lead the delegation as they enter the stadium.
USA's flag bearers lead the delegation as they enter the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images
Members of Team China wave flags during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Members of Team China wave flags during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
A general view inside the stadium as flag bearers Tingyu Gao and Dan Zhao of Team China lead the team during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
A general view inside the stadium as flag bearers of Team China lead the team during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
The Chinese and Olympic flags fly during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing.
The Chinese and Olympic flags fly during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko/AP
Performers create a flower display with LED lights during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Performers create a flower display with LED lights during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony. Photo: Sue Ogrocki/AP
Security stand outside the National Stadium known as the Bird's Nest ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Security stand outside the National Stadium known as the Bird's Nest ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP
Spectators wait for the start of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Spectators wait for the start of the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Photo: David J. Phillip/AP
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