PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – As Switzerland demolished a unified Korean hockey team at the Pyeongchang winter Olympics on Saturday, despondent home fans at least had another contest to distract them – a clash of cultures featuring North and South Korean cheerleaders.
The North Koreans, wearing full-length red jumpsuits and arranged in tidy rows on each side of the rink, at times competed for the crowd’s attention against mini-skirted dancers from the South, dressed completely in black and knee-high boots.
Squad - Encouragement - Motherland - Win - Win
As the North Korean squad chirped encouragement like “Unify the motherland!” and “Win, win, our athletes win!”, the women from the south gyrated to pop music, exposing a cultural gap every bit as wide as the scoreline on the ice.
Neither approach inspired a goal from the home team, which went down 0-8, but it was clear who connected with the mainly young South Korean fans, who have grown up physically separated from the poor, one-party state to the North.
Time - North - South - War - Olympic
It was the first time the North and South, still technically at war, had fielded a unified Olympic hockey team.
“They were fresh but a bit weird to me,” university student Kang Gwang-mo said. “They’re a bit old fashioned … but it was meaningful that we shared this moment together.”
Fans - Rhythms - Rap - Rock
As the fans sang and bopped to the rhythms of rap, rock and...
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