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North Korean cheerleaders sing ‘We are one!’ in Games culture clash

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – As Switzerland demolished a unified Korean hockey group on the Pyeongchang winter Olympics on Saturday, despondent dwelling followers at the least had one other contest to distract them; a clash of cultures that includes North and South Korean cheerleaders.

The North Koreans, carrying full-length crimson jumpsuits and organized in tidy rows on either side of the rink, at instances competed for the gang’s consideration towards mini-skirted dancers from the South, dressed utterly in black and knee-high boots.

As the North Korean squad chirped encouragement like “Unify the motherland!” and “Win, win, our athletes win!”, the ladies from the south gyrated to pop music, exposing a cultural hole each bit as broad because the scoreline on the ice.

Neither strategy impressed a aim from the house group, which went down Zero-Eight, however it was clear who related with the primarily younger South Korean followers, who’ve grown up bodily separated from the poor, one-party state to the North.

It was the primary time the North and South, nonetheless technically at battle, had fielded a unified Olympic hockey group.

“They were fresh but a bit weird to me,” college scholar Kang Gwang-mo mentioned. “They’re a bit old fashioned … but it was meaningful that we shared this moment together.”

As the followers sang and bopped to the rhythms of rap, rock and pop performed over stadium audio system, the North’s cheerleaders countered with a North Korean pop tune that was common a decade in the past, the final time the 2 Koreas had been attempting to make peace.

Only older members of the viewers appeared to know the phrases.

Short Track Speed Skating Events – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s 1500m Competition – Gangneung Ice Arena – Gangneung, South Korea – February 10, 2018 – North Korean cheerleaders in motion. REUTERS/John Sibley


From the second they entered the stadium to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger” and Darude’s “Sandstorm”, the North’s cheerleaders knew that they had competitors.

With the stadium reverberating to every thing from Metallica to the 1999 hit “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!” by the Vengaboys, some followers hadn’t even observed the cheerleaders stroll in.

“Oh my god they’re coming in right next to us!” mentioned one spectator as they filed in, carrying blue luggage and adopted by a scrum of picture journalists and excited onlookers.

From inside their luggage, the cheerleaders produced props that might accompany their chants: a unified Korean flag, some paper flowers and a few masks.

“That’s scary,” one other spectator mentioned to a different because the cheerleaders placed on a person’s masks in good unison.

During an intermission, South Korean rappers Dynamic Duo took to a stage and labored up excited younger South Koreans round them with a model of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”.

Later, the North Korean cheerleaders responded by singing “We are one!”, swaying backward and forward in a wonderfully choreographed show of unity and self-discipline.

“Today’s victory is ours!”

Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Grace Lee; Editing by Mark Bendeich

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