GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA – North Korea’s cheerleading squad made an unexpected appearance at the South Korean men’s hockey game against the Czech Republic on Thursday, marking its first attendance at an Olympic event not featuring a North Korean athlete.
At least 150 cheerleaders filled an entire section of the Gangneung Hockey Centre, directly behind one of the goals.
Sporting white, red and blue outfits and red and white beanies, they promptly broke out into song, waving white and blue unification flags.
They were largely drowned out by South Korean rapper San E, who was delivering a pre-game performance.
The cheerleaders have been a fixture at games played by the unified Korean women’s ice hockey team, which featured several players from the North.
But the men’s team was never integrated, and includes only athletes from South Korea plus half a dozen Canadians who have been playing hockey in the country for years and become South Korean citizens.