In Depth

Pictures and reaction: 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

South Korean and North Korean athletes march together to mark the start of PyeongChang 2018

A show of peace and unity, K-pop music, dancing and an explosion of colours has marked the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Approximately 35,000 spectators braved the freezing conditions for the opening ceremony at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium. According to the BBC, the ceremony lasted just over two hours as the competing nations' athletes marched into the stadium. 

Sochi 2014 skeleton gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold carried the flag for Team GB, the 52nd nation to enter, and 169 athletes from Russia marched under the Olympic flag. At the end of the ceremony one of the biggest cheers was reserved for South Korean skating icon Yuna Kim, who lit the Olympic flame.

The undoubted highlight of the event saw South Korean and North Korean athletes marching together and waving ‘unified Korea’ flags. Led by two flagbearers - South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong and North Korean ice hockey player Chung Gum Hwang - it was a historic moment, the BBC commented. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said: “We are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us.” South Korean president Moon Jae-in issued a message of peace: “It was with an ardent desire that the people of Korea aspired to host the Winter Games, the only divided nation in the world. It mirrors the Olympic spirit in its pursuit of peace.”

Commentating for the BBC, Olympic gold medallist figure skater Robin Cousins called the opening ceremony a “very classy” event. He said: “I thought the precision of the whole performance and the delicacy in how everything was laid out was very classy. Nothing too frantic and some great dancing. I loved it.”

We pick out some of the highlights on Twitter:

Historic moment for Korea.

Here comes Team GB.

The cauldron is lit.

A message from the IOC president…

A meeting of ‘leaders’.

Message of peace in PyeongChang.

The journey to PyeongChang started four years ago in Sochi.

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