Beijing 2022 are officially open after stirring opening ceremony at the Bird’s Nest

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are officially open, after a stirring opening ceremony at the Bird’s Nest. The Games begin as the athletes march in freezing conditions.

While the Australian team looked great, American Samoa’s flagbearer and sole athlete at these Games Nathan Crumpton stole the show as he carried his nation’s flag shirtless in the Beijing night.

The ceremony featured a snowflake motif, and a theme of honouring the people of China and the world. IOC president Thomas Bach urged world leaders to “give peace a chance” amid the traditional Olympic truce.

Chinese President Xi Jinping officially declared the Games open, before the cauldron in the shape of a snowflake was lit in the centre of the stadium.

Fireworks lit the sky to signal the beginning of 16 days of competition.

Australia sent44 athletes to the Winter Olympics beginning Feb. 4 in Beijing — 23 women and 21 men in 10 disciplines.

The Australian Olympic Committee said that snowboarder Scotty James and mogul skier Britt Cox will compete at their fourth Olympics, joining just six other Australians to compete at four or more Winter Games.

Another 12 athletes will compete at their third Olympics, 10 athletes return for their second while 20 athletes will make their Olympic debut.

With an average age of 25.43, the team features four teenagers, with snowboarder Valentino Guseli the youngest at 16.

Freestyle skiing, which incorporates moguls, aerials, free ski and ski cross, is the largest team with 13 athletes, followed by snowboard with 11.

Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt will make history as Australia’s first Olympic curlers in the mixed event, while Bree Walker will contest the women’s monobob as it makes its Olympic debut.

Sophie Ash (moguls) and Gabi Ash (aerials) will also become the first Australian sisters to compete on the same Winter Olympics team.