Olympics Opening Ceremony Time 2022: When to Watch Replay
With the conclusion of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, the 2022 Winter Games have officially kicked off.
As expected, the Beijing 2022 opening ceremony blended artistic display and technological advancements with political commentary, sending a clear message to the rest of the world about how China sees itself and the role it plays.
When dealing with large time zone differences, NBC has typically aired the opening ceremony on tape delay, but it chose to do a live broadcast followed by a primetime replay during the Tokyo Games and now for the Beijing Games as well.
As was Tokyo during the Summer Games, Beijing is 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time. If viewers in New York wanted to watch the opening ceremony, which took place at 7:30 p.m. in China, live, they had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. If viewers in Los Angeles wanted to do the same, it meant a bright-and-early wake-up call of 3:30 a.m.
Needless to say, if you weren’t able to catch the opening ceremony live, it will be rebroadcast in American primetime on Friday. We’ll break down where and how to tune in, and after that, dive into some of the themes and performances that the ceremony showcased. If you want to go into the opening ceremony with little background knowledge, stop reading after the broadcast information.
Opening Ceremony Replay Information
Opening Ceremony in Primetime
Date: Friday, Feb. 4
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com, Peacock
Date: Saturday, Feb. 5
Time: 12:38 a.m. ET
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com, Peacock
The approximately one hour, forty minute opening ceremony was directed by filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who also directed the Beijing 2008 ceremonies. It incorporated the motto of this year's Games, "Faster, Higher, Stronger—Together" and the official slogan, "Together for a shared future."
A recurring theme of the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony was snowflakes, which seems…kind of obvious when taken at face value, but is actually important in context. Beijing and Zhangjiakou, 150 miles away, were awarded the 2022 Winter Games in 2015. And since then, China has made a concerted effort to build up its ski industry.
According to the Beijing Ski Association, Chinese ski venues saw 20 million visits in 2019, twice as many as in 2014.
Indeed, the opening ceremony included a video showing a bunch of very cute young children playing winter sports. Per China, the video reflects the government’s goal of “encouraging 300 million people to participate in winter sports.”
However, COVID-19 mitigation measures have slowed what the nation hoped would be robust growth in this new tourist sector.
Another theme of the opening ceremony was the history of the Olympic Games, with a segment that featured all the previous host cities etched in block of ice.
Technology factored largely into the opening ceremony as well. According to the Global Times, “high-tech elements such as 5G, Internet of Things and AI technology accounted for 60 percent of the performance's innovation on Friday.” The National Stadium’s main stage is a giant LED screen—the biggest in the world—and it featured prominently in the performance.
Technology also factored into the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, which, in this instance, was actually a snowflake suspended in the air featuring smaller snowflakes with the names of every participating nation.
Intentional or not, the cauldron lighting will be the thing viewers remember most from the opening ceremony. We’ll break down why.
When the Olympic flame arrived in the National Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron, it was relayed by six different Chinese athletes who were born in every decade since the 1950s. Rather than the traditional cauldron, the flame was inserted into a massive snowflake suspended in the air.
The athletes who carried the torch have all competed in a previous Winter or Summer Games for China and included Zhao Weichang, Li Yan, Yang Yang, Su Bingtian and Zhou Yang. For the final relay, two current Winter Olympians, Dinigeer Yilamujiang and Zhao Jiawen, brought the torch to the cauldron.
Choosing Yilamujiang to participate in the cauldron lighting was a deliberate and pointed choice by Chinese organizers. Yilamujiang is of Uyghur heritage. The United States is one of the nations staging a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games, along with Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Denmark, Estonia, due to the Chinese government having “committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” as determined by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters the U.S. was acting “out of ideological prejudice and based on lies and rumors,” per the AP.
The decision to include Yilamujiang in the cauldron lighting was a clear message by Chinese president Xi Jinping to the West—as, apparently, was the decision to feature Russian president Vladimir Putin prominently during the parade of nations. It will be the dominant storyline from the opening ceremony.