Did this North Korean cheerleader accidentally cheer for an American?

North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics has raised eyebrows on a number of fronts. Has the North’s presence at the Games been an important first step on the road to reunification? Or just thinly veiled propaganda packaged as a charm offensive?

Whatever you may choose to make of it, one of the more bizarre aspects of the North’s participation in the Games has been the squad of cheerleaders that have appeared in the crowd at events DPRK athletes have competed in. While the closely choreographed, synchronized routines performed by the North Korean “army of beauties” is undeniably impressive on some level, their pasted on smiles and near-frantic enthusiasm have an ominous, Orwellian quality.

Closely attended by older, impassive male minders, the cheerleaders’ presence has led to more than its share of awkward moments at the Games. Among them is this video, which appears to show one of women accidentally begin to clap for American figure skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim.

As you can see in the video, the entire brigade of cheerleaders erupts with their usual near-hysteric level of forced exuberance to applaud North Korean figure skating duo Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sok.

But then as the Knierims take the ice and are introduced for their routine, one of the North Korean cheerleaders appears to momentarily forget herself.

Instead of remaining deadpan and disinterested, as the women typically have during performances by athletes from other nations, she breaks protocol and briefly, begins to clap for the Knierims.

See more of the mysterious cheerleaders: 

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North Korea's 'Army of Beauties'
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North Korea's 'Army of Beauties'
A man impersonating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gestures as he stands before North Korean cheerleaders attending the Unified Korean ice hockey game against Japan during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YELIM LEE (Photo credit should read YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
This Kim Jong Un impersonator walked in front of the North Korean cheering squad at the Olympics, and boy were they… https://t.co/LhyFY6Yv9i
A man impersonating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is removed by security offices after waving a unified Korean flag before North Korean cheerleaders attending the Unified Korean ice hockey game against Japan during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YELIM LEE (Photo credit should read YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
Ice Hockey ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Women's Preliminary Round Match ? Korea v Japan - Kwandong Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea ? February 14, 2018 - A Kim Jong-un impersonator stands next to the North Korean cheerleaders. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Jorge Silva TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea hold unification flags as they wait the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
North Korean cheerleaders attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and Unified Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and Unified Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and Unified Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - North Korean cheerleaders hold the flags of the unified Korean team during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Korea and Sweden, at the Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - North Korean cheerleaders hold the flags of the unified Korean team during the womens preliminary round ice hockey match between Korea and Sweden, at the Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and Unified Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Sweden and Unified Korea during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A photo taken on February 10, 2018 shows North Korean cheerleaders wearing masks as they perform during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung. According to Yonhap, South Korea's unification ministry has denied reports that the masks featured the image of North Korea's late founding leader Kim Il-sung. The masks were worn as the cheerleaders sang 'Whistle', a North Korean song whose lyrics are about a man's unrequited love for a female neighbor. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders perform during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team loose to Switzerland at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders perform during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders perform as (top L-R) South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach, North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, and Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watch the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders hold the Unified Korea flag and cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: North Korean cheerleaders perform during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round, Group B match between North Korea and Switzerland on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders hold the Unified Korea flag and cheer after the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (middle row R) and North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (middle row center) and IOC President Thomas Bach (C) sit behing North Korea's cheerleaders waving the Unified Korea's flags before the first period of the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, South Korea on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A North Korean cheerleader waits for the first period of the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, South Korea on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: North Korean cheerleaders perform during a visit by United States Vice President Mike Pence to Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. Mr Pence is on the final day of a three day visit to South Korea where he watched last night's opening ceremony in close proximity to North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam and Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: North Korean cheerleaders perform during a visit by United States Vice President Mike Pence to Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. Mr Pence is on the final day of a three day visit to South Korea where he watched last night's opening ceremony in close proximity to North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam and Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: North Korean cheerleaders perform during a visit by United States Vice President Mike Pence to Gangneung Ice Arena on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. Mr Pence is on the final day of a three day visit to South Korea where he watched last night's opening ceremony in close proximity to North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam and Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YELIM LEE (Photo credit should read YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders prior to the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between the unified Korea team and Switzerland at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YELIM LEE (Photo credit should read YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YELIM LEE (Photo credit should read YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders members the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YELIM LEE (Photo credit should read YELIM LEE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: North Korean cheerleaders sing and wave during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game between Switzerland and Korea on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: North Korean cheerleaders sing and wave during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game between Switzerland and Korea on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders cheer during the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders cheer before the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders arrive to watch the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
9th February 2018, Pyeongchang, South Korea; 2018 Winter Olympic Games; PyeongChang Olympic Stadium; North Korean cheerleaders waving their arms in support of their team during the Opening Ceremony (Photo by Roland Harrison/Action Plus via Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders wave their country's flag as they gather ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korea's cheerleaders arrive to watch the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: North Korean cheerleaders sing and wave prior to the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: North Korean cheerleaders sing and wave prior to the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: North Korean cheerleaders sing and wave prior to the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders gather ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - North Korean cheerleaders wave ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Martin BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
A South Korean girl (C) wearing traditional dress looks at North Korean cheerleaders performing during a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders perform during a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean athletes (top) watch North Korean cheerleaders performing during a welcoming ceremony for the team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders wave as they gather ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive to participate in a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018, ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive to participate in a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018, ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders perform during a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders prepare to perform before a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - North Korean cheerleaders leave after a welcoming ceremony for North Korea's Olympic team at the Olympic Village in Gangneung on February 8, 2018, ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders walk to their accomodation at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang, on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders walk to their accomodation at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang, on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders walk to their accomodation at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang, on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders walk to their accomodation at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang, on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at the Inje Speedium resort complex, where they are staying during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A North Korean cheerleader sits aboard a bus as their convoy arrives at the Inje Speedium resort complex, where they are staying during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang, on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at the Inje Speedium, a racetrack and hotel complex, in Inje, north of Pyeongchang on February 7, 2018 ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at a rest stop, or service station, as their bus convoy carrying a 280-member delegation on its way to the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympic games, makes its way past Gapyeong on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at a rest stop, or service station, as their bus convoy carrying a 280-member delegation on its way to the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympic games, makes its way past Gapyeong on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at a rest stop, or service station, as their bus convoy carrying a 280-member delegation on its way to the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympic games, makes its way past Gapyeong on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean cheerleaders arrive at a rest stop as their bus convoy carrying a 280-member delegation on its way to the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympic games, makes its way past Gapyeong on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - North Korean cheerleaders arrive at a rest stop as their bus convoy carrying a 280-member delegation on its way to the 2018 Pyeongchang winter Olympic games, makes its way past Gapyeong on February 7, 2018. More than 200 young North Korean women arrived in South Korea to root for athletes from both sides of the peninsula at the Winter Olympics. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
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This causes the woman sitting to her immediate left to also momentarily break character. Maintaining her neutral expression, she nudges the rogue clapper several times with her elbow. The clapping woman turns to face her and, as if she’s not quite realized what she’s done, seems to mouth a word to her. The other woman tries desperately to play it cool, her lips moving ever so slightly as she assumedly mouths the North Korean expression for “cut it out” under her breath.

It all happens very quickly, but it offers a telling glimpse at what lurks behind the facade of smiles and flag-waving euphoria the cheerleaders have attempted to present wherever they’ve appeared.

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