Rio 2016: Wrong Chinese flag used in medal ceremonies

'No mistakes are allowed,' says China Central Television host 

Kate Nelson
Monday 08 August 2016 14:02 BST
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Rio officials insist all flags were approved by national committees before the games
Rio officials insist all flags were approved by national committees before the games (AFP/Getty)

Chinese viewers and media are incensed after the wrong national flag was repeatedly used during medal presentation ceremonies.

The Rio organising committee is understood to be hastily sourcing the correct design for the notoriously patriotic country.

The mishap echoes a similar blunder by London 2012 officials when North Korea’s women’s football team refused to play after the flag of their bitter enemies South Korea was displayed next to their names during a match against Columbia. At the time, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games called the mistake “an embarrassment”.

China Central Television quickly spotted the error in Rio and used social media to draw attention to it.

According to the South China Morning Post, its host Cui Yongyuan told his 9 million followers on Weibo: “I am not trying to be picky because of obsessive compulsive disorder, but this is the national flag … it is a principle that even primary school students could understand.

“The national flag is the symbol of a country. No mistakes are allowed!”

The Chinese flag has five stars in the top left hand corner – a large one with four smaller ones to its right.

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The small stars are meant to circle and point to the main star but an inaccurate version used in shooting and swimming medal ceremonies had the little ones parallel to each other.

Australia’s Channel 7 also faced the wrath of Chinese viewers this week after displaying Chile’s flag by mistake in a medal tally table.

One viewer was so offended they started a petition demanding an apology, declaring: “a national flag of China should be the absolute last thing for them to get it wrong.”

Rio organisers insisted all national flags had been approved by national Olympic committees prior to the games.

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