The 2022 Winter Olympics opened on Friday night with a technology-heavy opening ceremony at Beijing’s National Stadium, with organizers and officials eager to keep the focus on China’s ability to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events instead of the controversy and uncertainty that have long followed its selection.

After a ceremony that clocked in at slightly over two hours — roughly half that of Tokyo 2020’s last July — a snowflake-shaped cauldron at the center of the stage was lit by skiers Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a Uyghur from the Xinjiang region according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, and Zhao Jiawen, who will each be competing at their first Olympics.

The choice to hold the ceremony and parade of nations at the stadium known as the Bird’s Nest, which will also host the closing ceremony on Feb. 20, is a heavy nod to Beijing’s status as the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games. The 80,000-seat venue was built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, which China sought to use as a sign of its arrival as a global superpower.