Cameras at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea caught a North Korean cheerleader accidentally clapping for two American figure skaters.
During the pair skating short program on Thursday, Feb. 15, one North Korean cheerleader appeared to have a lapse in judgement when she mindlessly began clapping for American figure skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, the Daily Mail reports. Korean-language television cameras spotted the cheerleader clapping for the opposing team.
The video shows North Korea’s cheerleading squad, which is referred to as the “army of beauties,” enthusiastically cheering as North Korean figure skating duo Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sok took the ice, with hands clapping and flags being waved. However, once the skating pair leaves the ice, the cheerleaders fall stone-faced, all except for one beauty who couldn’t seem to contain her enthusiasm.
The clapping cheerleader, flanked by other members of the North Korean cheer squad, is seen clapping while her teammates stoically watch the American figure skaters’ performance. After a few seconds, a cheerleader to her left is seen elbowing her and mumbling something under her breath before the clapping cheerleader realizes her mistake and drops her hands to her lap.
North Korea’s “army of beauties” has been a fixture at this year’s Winter Olympics, the cheer squad making waves on social media since their arrival. The squad wears matching outfits and performs cheers in extremely precise fashion, chanting phrases like “Go for it, go for it, our players, go for it!” and "Nice to meet you!" in their native language.
Chosen based on criteria including family backgrounds, looks, skills and loyalty to the ruling Workers' Party, the cheerleaders must be over 1.6 meters tall, or about 5’3.” Women with family members who have defected or are missing cannot qualify as they pose a potential risk of defection. Often, the members are chosen from universities in Pyongyang, especially schools focusing on music and dance.