North Korea's Cheerleaders are Mesmerizing Olympic Audiences

They're part of Kim Jong Un's two-week charm offensive.
IMAGE Getty Images

North Korea's cheerleaders have grabbed the spotlight in the opening days of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, as more than 200 of them, dressed in identical red tracksuits, deliver enthusiastic chants complete with face cut-outs and small flags of Korea to really sell those "for two weeks, we're def in a super chill compromise" vibes. 

It's all part of a two-week PR stunt to show that, yes, North Korea has nuclear capabilities and starves and enslaves its people, but the country also has a carefree attitude and a really great track record with synchronized choreography. Got it?

Just take the group's presence at Saturday's North/South Korean hockey game. Was it a painful 0-8 blowout against Switzerland? Sure was. But they still danced it out to BTS (or Bangtan Boys, if you're not up to speed on your K-Pop boy bands).     

As mesmerizing as it all is, it's hard to ignore that it's also kind of terrifying. Like, imagine if The Handmaid's Tale had a workout video, and instead of "Under His Eye" they just danced, in fear, to Bruno Mars and Kanye. Okay, maybe that's not a fair claim; the all-women group seems to be enjoying their time in the grandstands. All I'm saying is that I haven't seen a single one of them miss a clap sequence, and for everyone's safety, I don't want to.     


Their presence at the Games, as well as that of Kim Jong Un's sister, has broader geo-political implications, according to The Washington Post, which said the North Korean charm offensive is meant to drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea.

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for
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