China's Olympics flop? Viewership down, fallen skater booed, and Putin 'dozes'
"In this Olympic spirit of peace, I appeal to all political authorities across the world — observe your commitment to this Olympic truth. Give peace a chance," International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said.
Despite International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach's calls for peace at the opening of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, the reality seems disjointed, including official delegation boycotts, all-time low viewership, and Russian President Vladimir Putin appearing to doze off during the Ukrainian team's entrance during the opening ceremony.
"In this Olympic spirit of peace, I appeal to all political authorities across the world — observe your commitment to this Olympic truth. Give peace a chance," Bach said, according to People Magazine, after the Olympic Truce was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in December.
However, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. announced diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics, citing human rights violations, in reference to the Chinese Communist Party's abuse of a million Uyghurs, who have been placed in internment camps.
The Olympics have received all-time low viewership on NBC, which found that there were "nearly 14 million TV-only viewers" for Friday's full-day opening ceremony coverage. This was 43% lower than the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which had 23.8 million viewers, TheBlaze reported. In the last 30 years, the lowest viewership was 21.6 million for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, according to The Wrap.
Only "8.7 million tuned in on NBC in primetime [to] see the pre-taped Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie-led coverage of the propaganda-heavy spectacle put on by Chinese President Xi Jinping and filmmaker Zhang Yimou," Deadline reported.
According to a Morning Consult poll of 2,000 American adults, 65% cited a lack of interest in the events, 57% said no interest in athletes, and 40% said it was because China was hosting.
The Twitter hashtag #GenocideGames also trended in recent days, referring to China's human rights violations, TheBlaze noted.
China also faced internal strife as Chinese social media users blasted 19-year-old U.S.-born figure skater Zhu Yi, who is competing for China, after she fell hard during her first combination attempt on Saturday as she slammed into a wall, Fox News reported. She later stumbled on a triple loop attempt, placing last with a 47.03 score.
The hashtag #ZhuYiFellOver had over 230 million views by Sunday afternoon before the Chinese social media site, Weibo, took it down. Zhu's performance brought China down from third place to fifth, narrowly making it to the finals.
In a possible pointed snub from a world leader, Putin appeared to doze off when the Ukrainian athletes entered the stadium during the opening ceremony. He sat alone with his eyes closed as the team made their entrance, according to Fox News. However, by the time the Russian Olympic Committee team entered the stadium, Putin was wide awake and stood to salute them, the New York Post reported.
Putin currently has more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border, as President Joe Biden has claimed that an invasion of Russia's neighbor appears imminent.