Expect an "ethereal and romantic" show.
The 2022 Winter Olympics are fast approaching, and, as usual, there will be an opening ceremony to kick off the festivities. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 4. It might look a little different this year amid the ongoing global Omicron variant outbreak.
Last year’s opening ceremony for Tokyo’s Summer Olympics boasted performances from John Legend, Keith Urban, Susan Boyle, and others. While this year’s ceremony is expected to be executed on a smaller scale, there shouldn’t be a shortage of fun. Here’s everything to know about the 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Where is the opening ceremony airing?
The Olympics Opening Ceremony will air Feb. 4, on NBC and streaming service Peacock. They special will start at 6:30 a.m. E.T. and will be followed by interviews with Olympic athletes on Today.
Where will the opening ceremony be held?
The Opening Ceremony will being held at Beijing National Stadium, which is also known as the Bird’s Nest. It’s the same location where some of the top athletes in the world will compete for coveted medals in curling, biathlon, snowboard, and more. According to NBC Sports, this is also the same stadium where the 2008 Beijing opening and closing ceremonies were held.
Who created this year’s opening ceremony?
Filmmaker Zhang Yimou is the man behind the 2022 opening ceremony, and he’s the first to admit that Olympic viewers can expect the usual spectacles to be trimmed. Chinese outlet Xinhua reported the ceremony will last less than an hour and 40 minutes, citing cold weather and COVID-19. Yimou told Xinhua they’re planning a “simple, safe, and splendid” ceremony.
Yimou provided more details in an official statement for Beijing’s Olympic organizing committee. “The opening ceremony features a lot of highlights despite the influence of COVID-19,” Yimou said in the statement. “[The organizing committee] is engaging actively in preparing to present a splendid Beijing 2022 opening ceremony in a simple and safe manner, with COVID-19 countermeasures in mind.”
He’s also publicly stated that he will rely on technology to ramp up the experience. As Reuters reported, state television quoted Yimou saying the ceremony will be "ethereal and romantic” thanks to the unspecified technology he’ll utilize.
This isn’t Yimou’s first Olympic rodeo. He was also mastermind behind key parts of closing ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in 2004 (Athens) and 2018 (South Korea).
Who is performing in the opening ceremony?
The scaling-down may come by way of fewer individuals participating in the ceremony. According to Xinhua, Beijing’s 2008 ceremony had 15,000 actors while approximately 3,000 actors will be included in the forthcoming ceremony.
A smaller show shouldn’t mean a less engaging ceremony. “These Games have provided some unprecedented challenges, but by having already produced the Tokyo Olympics amidst the pandemic, we’re fully prepared and equally excited to bring all the memorable moments of the Winter Games and Team USA to American viewers this February,” Pete Bevacqua, a chairman of NBC Sports, said in a press release, per Parade.
This year’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony may look different, but it won’t be any less special.