What was that sound you heard during the ice rhythm dancing competition? Cheering.
Chinese officials had banned cheering at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing as part of its zero-coronavirus policy. But the limited number of spectators in attendance on Saturday, including Olympic athletes and athletic support staff, broke their silence.
With overseas spectators having been barred from entering the country amid the spike in coronavirus cases ahead of the Games, the stands at the Olympic venues have been mostly empty during competition. A limited number of local spectators, as well as those in the closed-loop bubble system at the Olympics, have been permitted to attend but asked to follow stringent protocols.
That included no cheering, with officials suggesting that spectators clap instead.
Spectators, however, have been unable to contain themselves at times during competition. That was the case Saturday as figure skating pairs were cheered and applauded by spectators and fellow Olympians, including Shaun White.
Three U.S. teams advanced in the dance rhythm competition, with Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue placing third, Madison Chock and Evan Bates taking fourth and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker finishing eleventh. They move on to the ice dance medal event on Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET.
The cheering ban remains in effect.