North Korea's 'army of beauties' makes Olympics debut with united Korea flags at speedskating

With the pomp of Friday’s Opening Ceremony behind us, we have our first full slate of Olympic competition on Saturday.

Short track speedskating made its PyeongChang debut early in the day with qualifying heats for several events.

Maybe more notable, though, is the competition debut of another team. A swath of North Korea cheerleaders, a group of 230 women sent from North Korea dubbed its “army of beauties,” was sitting in the stands and garnering a lot of attention. The women are reportedly selected by strict beauty standards set by leader Kim Jong Un, who married one of its former members.

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Aside from the precision of their flag-waving, note the flags themselves. Those are the flags of united Korea that athletes from North Korea and South Korea marched under during Friday’s Opening Ceremony. While two of the North Korean delegation of 22 athletes are short track speedskaters, the sport is a traditional strength of host South Korea.

Whatever its true intentions, the normally adversarial North Korea’s propaganda campaign to present some sort of detente with its neighbors to the South is on full display.


They sing.

North Korea’s cheerleaders wave flags at Saturday’s short track speedskating events. (REUTERS)
North Korea’s cheerleaders wave flags at Saturday’s short track speedskating events. (REUTERS)

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