North Korea leader Kim Jong Un deployed more than 200 women, dubbed in the Asian media the “Army of Beauties,\
At breaks in the skating the cheerleaders sang in unison, to the delight of the home crowd, who gave them a rousing ovation at the end of each rendition.
American speedskaters Lana Gehring and Maame Biney also became instant fans.
“Oh my god, it was awesome,” said Gehring. “They were just doing their little chants and flag waves. I have never seen that before. And their (songs) are so in sync it is like they’ve been practicing them for years.”
“They are really beautiful,” added Biney. “I really liked it.”
USA TODAY attempted to interview members of the cheer squad at both the hockey game and speedskating event. But the women offered only tight smiles and turned away.
Sung Baik You, spokesman for South Korea’s Olympic host committee known as POCOG, said the organization has changed seating assignments for events so large clusters of the North Korea cheer squad can sit together at the venues.
At this weekend’s hockey game, they sat in several clusters of 30 or 40 throughout but managed to cheer in unison throughout the matchup.
“This doesn’t come from the official channel of POCOG,” said Sung, when asked his impressions of the squad. “But throughout the games, I think they are going to attract a lot of interest from people.”