PYEONGCHANG, Feb 9 — As the Pyeongchang Olympics opened today the sight of two bellicose “world leaders” putting aside the threat of nuclear war warmed the cockles on a freezing cold night.
As excited spectators filed into the Olympic Stadium for the gala ceremony, many did a double-take.
Could it really be US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un?
Normally obsessed with comparing the size of their nuclear buttons, here the pair looked more like atomic kittens.
In fact it was two spitting-image lookalikes — not the actual bickering enemies — who were turning heads, shaking hands and taking selfies.
And as protesters raged against the presence in Pyeongchang of North Korean athletes and dignitaries, including Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong, the two fake leaders were given a warm reception by stunned onlookers.
“When we arrived at the station we were treated like rock stars,” Kim lookalike Howard, dressed in all black, told AFP.
“Some people were fooled but most people can see the lighter side.”
Behind the jokes, however, was a serious message.
“This is a peace envoy,” insisted the ersatz Kim, flanked by Trump substitute Dennis Alan, wearing a red USA cap.
“We’re going to promote peace and show people this is what peace can look like.”
The fake Kim — an Australian based in Hong Kong — expressed hope that “the real Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un could also get on and not start World War Three”.
Before entering the stadium, where the real US Vice-President Mike Pence and Kim’s sister were in attendance, he added: “Hopefully we can meet Mike Pence and the sister of Kim Jong -un.
“My only worry is that somebody with no sense of humour won’t let us in.”
Once inside, the two impersonators caused a stir when they passed the press box, causing journalists to leave their seats and chase after them.
The lifelike fake Trump sported the former business mogul’s trademark over-long red tie.
“It happens quite frequently that people are fooled by the way I look,” he said.
“But I do not use my likeness to make any kind of political statement.” — AFP