North Korea’s cheering squad took a break from their Olympic duties on Tuesday to tour Gangneung, one of the Olympic host cities.
Dressed in red tracksuits in formations of two, 229 cheerleaders smiled and waved to curious spectators and hundreds of reporters as they were ushered along the walkways by a coastal beach, Gyeongpo, in the morning. About 1,000 policemen, minders and security agents were present.
After lunch at an unknown location, the women visited a national treasure tour site, Ojukheon House, one of South Korea’s oldest wooden residential buildings preserved and maintained by the descendants. It was home to Shin Saimdang, one of Korea’s most famous female artists in the 16th century, and to her son, a prominent Confucian scholar.
Cheerleaders smiled and waved to media journalists as they walked through the property but rarely said a word. A few of them reluctantly responded to shouting reporters with greetings in Korean — “hello” and “nice to meet you.”
The cheerleaders moved about in four groups with North Korean middle-age men in the front and back of each group.
At the end of the tour, North Korea’s all-female brass band put on a performance while the cheerleaders danced along.