Seems that Vladimir Putin found the opening ceremony of the 2022 Beijing Olympics to be a total snoozefest.
Because as the Parade of Nations filtered into Beijing's National Stadium, the Russian president was caught falling asleep. The cameras panned over to Putin, showing the politician with his hands in his lap and his eyes shut.
Naturally, social media rose to the occasion. "lmao putin sleeping like a dad in a recliner at the fking olympic opening ceremonies," one Twitter user quipped, while another joked, "Watching the Olympics opening. NBC shows Putin who appeared to be sleeping and then woke up with that start we all do. 'Me? Sleeping? No! I was resting my eyes!'"
Others noted that the president chose to get some shuteye just as political opponent Ukraine appeared. Someone joked that Putin was jealous, writing, "Vlad Putin livid that the Ukrainian Olympic team has the best outfits."
Of course, the President sprung to his feet when the Russian Olympic Committee was announced. He waved to the athletes as cameras clicked around him before returning to his solitary seat in the stadium.
In 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from competing in the Beijing Olympics because of anti-doping violations. However, Russian athletes were invited to compete as an "Olympic Athlete From Russia" a.k.a. an OAR for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I woke up early to watch athletes from around the world wave…and Vladimir Putin sleeping in the stands:) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a></p>— Adam Eleven (@AdamEleven) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamEleven/status/1489582525194383360?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 4, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Then, in February 2021, the IOC decided Russian competitors could participate in the Olympics as the Russian Olympic Committee, which would bear the flag of an Olympic flame in Russia's state colors white, red and blue, according to NBC Sports.
Long story short, the decision was a big deal for Russian athletes, who are considered among the best in the world—especially at the Winter Games. The team is favored to place in the top three in the overall medal count. So, uh, don't sleep on them.
Watch the 2022 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony tonight, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC and Peacock.