To watch the Olympics is to feel overwhelmingly like a child. There’s rarely—for us laymen, anyway—much more to be said about the spectacles and feats of each event than did you see that and did you see THAT and loooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKK!!!!! The Olympics are the most wondrous and childlike of childlike wonders: unbridled gawking at the outer reaches of human athleticism, sprinkled with the certainty that, much like your parents before them, Olympic athletes will be able to do things—win races, lift heavy objects, balance obstacles, open jars—that your puny body couldn’t possibly.
So it was fitting that the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was positioned from the vantage point of five young children, who, clad in parkas and beanies to stave off Pyeongchang’s below-freezing chill, served as proxies for people in warmer, softer places with—no judgment—warmer, softer lives. The kids played in artificial snow and rafted across the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium’s stage and encountered a massive white tiger, looking all the while delighted and amazed to have borne witness to the opening ceremony. There were fireworks. There were mittens. It was a good show, and we’ll go through the highlights in just a moment.
But if you just want the Cliffs Notes, here is the physical manifestation of my excitement about the Olympics:
Early breakout star of the Olympics is the small child who really wanted to know what an NBC camera tastes like pic.twitter.com/PFKEO2VGXL— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) February 9, 2018
I love Team USA’s big, dumb, fringed gloves, and I will not feel sorry about it. So they look like the gloves from Dumb and Dumber. Fine. Whatever. Let’s go build a rustic log cabin.
Other highlights include the apparel of Team China, whose athletes seem prepared to do surgery:
And Canada, who managed yet again to outclass Team USA:
Lack of Winter Wear
Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, who competed in taekwondo in the 2016 summer games and will now be representing his nation in the natural crossover sport of cross-country skiing, assured us that he would be more sensible in frigid Pyeongchang than he was in Rio de Janeiro, where he entered the opening ceremony without a shirt. “I want to still be alive for my race,” he said before Friday’s outdoor ceremony. “It’s going to be freezing, so I will be keeping nice and warm.”
And yet, here is how Taufatofua entered the stadium:
Pita Taufatofua, better known as The Shirtless Tongan, gave the people what they wanted to see at the Opening Ceremony! Watch it tonight at 8/7c right here on NBC! #WinterOlympics pic.twitter.com/83kHG40fgL— WDTN (@WDTN) February 9, 2018
Olympic Coverage: https://t.co/sUiXu1vc8o
Oppan “Gangnam Style”
Are these games taking place in South Korea, land of 2012 Earworm King Psy? They are. Did I let myself believe that we might be treated to a rendition of Psy’s “Gangnam Style” during the opening ceremony? I did not. Would I, even in my wildest dreams, have imagined that “Gangnam Style” would accompany Team USA’s best, brightest, and/or burliest as they entered the stadium? Never.
My friends, I come bearing glorious tidings, and also the presence of Vice President Mike Pence, to whom NBC’s cameras panned as the great ring of Olympic dancers serenaded America’s athletes while doing the patented Psy horse dance:
As Psy once said: Hey, sexy lady. Or, uh, mother.
Team Jamaica, Forever and Ever and Ever
Jamaica brought a whopping three athletes to the Olympics this year. They already appear to be having more fun than everybody else combined.
The Only Person to Trust on an Ice Slick at the Top of a Ski Jump?
The one, the only: Yuna Kim.