US Olympians Try Their Hands at K-Pop's 'Finger Heart.' What's That? - NBC New York
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang

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US Olympians Try Their Hands at K-Pop's 'Finger Heart.' What's That?

Some members of Team USA threw up the Finger Heart to start the 2018 Winter Olympic games, but in Korea the symbol has been famous for several years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Korean Finger Heart Spreads During Winter Olympics

    NBC Bay Area's Garvin Thomas explains the Korean finger heart made popular by K-Pop stars. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018)

    UPDATE: Lindsey Vonn and shirtless Tongan flagbearer Pita Taufatofua made the gesture with the head of International Olympic Committee as part of the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games.

    About 10 members of Team USA looked a little bit confused at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympic Games as they twisted their thumbs and fingers into the shape of a popular, if subtle, Korean gesture that stands for love and more.


    The "Finger Heart" isn't too well known in the United States, but it's a well-known symbol among Korean pop stars and their fans. Singers and actors will flash their crossed thumb and forefinger — that's the symbol — during concerts and at fans to show their love.


    Amazon lists apparel featuring the Finger Heart, and one group, We Love Peace, is trying to popularize it with a movement online to promote freedom, peace and equality that's even featured U.S. Alpine skiing star Lindsey Vonn.

    The American athletes got into the act on Friday, when the Olympic spirit of bringing peace to the world through sport was in the air.

    Opening Ceremony in Photos: Flags, Fireworks, Tiger PuppetOpening Ceremony in Photos: Flags, Fireworks, Tiger Puppet

    The Finger Heart sign has been around for several years, but its origin appears to be a bit of a mystery. Both Korean actress Kim Hye-soo and K-pop artists Woohyun and G-Dragon claim they started the sign, according to K-pop fan sites. 

    Due to its similarity to the money gesture created by rubbing the finger and thumb together, it's been misunderstood, including when it appeared at the most recent Olympics.

    During the 2016 Rio Games, two Malaysian divers were photographed making the finger heart sign following their silver medal finish in synchronized diving. One took to Twitter to clarify to another person, "it's actually heart sign not money."