Greece paraded first in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games which started on Friday in the Chinese capital.
The two athletes carrying the Greek national flag during the opening ceremony were Maria Danou, who will compete in cross country skiing, and Ioannis Antoniou, in the slalom.
Greek athletes always lead the athletes’ parade because Greece is the place where the Olympic Games were born in ancient times– and where the Modern Olympics were resurrected.
Greece will participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics with five athletes. Maria-Eleni Tsiovolou, who will compete in Alpine skiing, and cross-country skiers Nefeli Tita and Apostolos Angelis complete the Greek team.
Hello Greece! 🇬🇷👋
As is customary, Greece will enter first, lead by flagbearers Apostolos Angelis and @maria_danou.
— Olympics (@Olympics) February 4, 2022
The athletes made their way into Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium via a spectacular entrance, which is described as representing the “Gate of China” and “Window of China.”
The special effects make both appear as though they are made of ice, with the motifs inspired by traditional gates and windows across the country.
“The ‘Gate of China’ symbolizes that China opens its doors to welcome the world to the Olympic Winter Games,” the official Opening Ceremony explainer reads.
“The ‘Window of China,’ through which the magnificent scenery is showcased, expresses the idea of ‘seeing China through an open window.'”
President Xi Jinping sparked the loudest cheer of the night as he waved to the crowd as the Opening Ceremony began. His Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin also waved as the Russian athletes paraded.
Beijing Winter Olympics subject to diplomatic boycotts
Beijing was elected as host city in July 2015 at the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur. The 2022 Winter Olympics will be the first Winter Olympics in China, and the last of three consecutive Olympics in East Asia (after the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan).
With its second Olympic Games, Beijing will be the first city to have ever hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics: four existing indoor venues originally constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics will be used as part of these Games, while the Beijing National Stadium will again host the opening and closing ceremonies.
These Winter Olympics have been the subject of diplomatic boycotts due to the Uyghur genocide, the general human rights situation in China and various other concerns and controversies.