Beijing 2022 Opening Ceremony: One World, One Family

The XXIV Olympic Winter Games kicked off in spectacular fashion with a stunning Opening Ceremony at the Beijing National Stadium.

Picture by 2022 Getty Images

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron symbolised the start of Beijing 2022 and brought a mesmerising Opening Ceremony to a climactic end.

Athletes from 91 NOCs marched into the Beijing National Stadium for the Parade of Nations at the Opening Ceremony stirring a strong sense of déjà vu.

The Beijing National Stadium, or Bird's Nest as it is affectionately known, became the first venue to host Opening Ceremonies of both the Olympic Winter and Summer Games.

The "One World, One Family" theme of the Opening Ceremony was represented by the image of a single snowflake and was central to the showpiece from beginning to the end of the Ceremony. The theme was based on an ancient Chinese saying which meant that "a truly wise person sees the whole world as a family".

World-renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou played master of ceremonies for a second time, becoming the first person to direct two Opening Ceremonies in the same city. Zhang was also the mastermind behind the spectacular Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony.

The celebrated film director brought the showpiece to life through music, song, dance, innovative technology and fireworks, with Chinese citizens from Beijing and Hebei province – instead of stars, professional singers, dancers or actors – taking part.

The centre stage within the venue comprised 11,600 square metres of HD LED screen, which imitated "a crystal clear ice surface" throughout the Ceremony. Zhang further used high technology to bring his creation into existence through Artificial Intelligence using live-motion capture technology.

In his address, IOC President Thomas Bach praised the athletes for their resilience and the inspiration they provided to the world through sport.

"You have arrived here after overcoming so many challenges, living through great uncertainty. But now your moment has come: the moment you have been longing for – the moment we all have been longing for.

"We all are standing with you. We all are supporting you. We all are cheering you on," he said.

The torch race culminated in the lighting of the Olympic flame. In the final torch relay inside the stadium, seven torchbearers carried six torches – representing Chinese winter sports athletes across six generations.

The last two torchbearers, Zhao Jiawen and Dinigeer Yilamujiang, both born in the 2000s, brought the spectacle to a close when they lit the cauldron, which was placed in the middle of a giant snowflake. The giant snowflake comprises individual snowflakes representing the 91 nations and regions taking part in Beijing 2022.

Torch bearers light the Olympic Cauldron during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022
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Performers placed snowflake-shaped placards with the names of participating nations and regions on the LED floor.

General View inside the stadium as performers place down snowflakes with the names of participating countries on during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

As the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Greece once again led the Parade of Nations with Apostolos Angelis and Maria Ntanou carrying their nation's flag.

Flag bearers Apostolos Angelis and Maria Ntanou of Team Greece carry the flag of Greece during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games
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A virtual ice cube breaks apart, revealing crystals in the shape of the five interlaced Olympic Rings. At past Opening Ceremonies, the iconic rings have been formed with fire, wood, snow, and even performers.

“The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.” (Olympic Charter, Rule 8)

A large Olympic ring logo is seen inside the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2022
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Six performers dressed as ice hockey players interacted with virtual images of a hockey puck. The ice hockey players struck blows to the edge of a computer-generated ice block that emerged from the stadium floor.

Performers dressed as hockey players perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games
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A virtual ice cube emerges from the stadium floor, where 24 laser beams carve and engrave the names of the 24 previous Olympic Winter Games hosts before projecting the name of Beijing 2022.

A projection display shows previous Winter Olympic games information during the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games
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Ordinary Chinese people – including recipients of national medals and honorary titles and representatives of 56 ethnic groups from all parts of China – pass the national flag from hand to hand. While the flag moves across the stage, a child trumpeter played the melody of "Me and my Motherland", a household song in People's Republic of China.

The flag of the People's Republic of China is passed hand to hand as it enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2022
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The opening of the Olympic Winter Games coincides with the “Lichun,” the Beginning of Spring, celebrating the coming of spring in a season of freezing temperatures and snow. Chinese people believe that the extreme cold often breeds new life.

A child blows on a dandelion during the spring performance, sending the white seeds into the air. Firework "dandelions" appear in the sky, at the same time, representing the seeds of spring spreading across the world.

Performers create a dandelion shape at the National Stadium

A large Chinese character meaning “Happiness” is projected onto the stadium floor. During the Chinese New Year, it is common for Chinese families to attach the character “Happiness” onto their windows or doors.

 The Chinese character "Happiness"
Picture by 2022 Getty Images


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