The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing begin this week with the opening ceremony on Friday, the official start of the Games. (Competition, it should be noted, will already be underway by then, in curling, women’s ice hockey and freestyle skiing; the Games — Winter or Summer — don’t easily fit in 17 days anymore.)
The opening ceremony is scheduled for 8 p.m. in China — that will be 7 a.m. Eastern time and 4 a.m. Pacific — and take place at the National Stadium, known as the Bird’s Nest. That’s the same stadium that hosted the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Games, the last time China hosted the Olympics.
Although the Bird’s Nest was built specifically to hold events during the 2008 Games, no competitions will take place there this year. The stadium also will be the site for the Games’ closing ceremony on Feb. 20. (It hosted the closing ceremony in 2008, too.)
Opening ceremonies are a spectacle of pomp and circumstance, an opportunity for host nations to bedazzle the world through elaborate song, dance and visual effects. They provide a chance for countries to display their pride and national character to a global audience, something that China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has been doing for years as he has become the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
Coverage of the opening ceremony begins at 6:30 a.m. Eastern on NBC and also will be broadcast live on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock. NBC will re-air the ceremony on tape delay in prime time at 8 p.m. Friday.