PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony Heralds a New Era of Peace and Harmony

Image of Opening Ceremony

Two weeks of amazing performances, almost 3,000 athletes from 92 countries, and 102 gold medals to be won. It all started yesterday at PyeongChang with a magnificent and inspiring Opening Ceremony.

The Opening Ceremony opened with five children taking us on a quest of peace, following the White Tiger, one of the four legendary guardian gods of ancient mythology. The lights then flickered until the interlocking semi-circles of the taegeuk – the symbol of the Korean flag – appeared.

Opening Ceremony performances
Traditional Korean dancers

It was time for the national anthem of the Republic of Korea and the parade of athletes. Almost 3,000 athletes marching behind their flag-bearers were cheered by the spectators, including Pita Taufatofua from Tonga, topless and barefooted as in Rio 2016's Opening Ceremony.

The Japanese team enters the stadium
Despite the cold, Tonga Olympian Pita Taufatofua appears bare chested, as in Rio 2016

The five children resumed their journey, proceeding down the River of Time until they reached the Gate to the Future, which opened onto a technological world of communication where people live in harmony. Candle lights symbolising hope then appeared in the shape of a dove, sending a message of peace from PyeongChang to the world.

The five children
The mascot enters the stadium

The Olympic Flame finally entered the stadium held aloft by two members of the unified Korean women's ice hockey team and then handed to the final torch bearer, Yuna Kim. The queen of ice skating lit the Caldron as the stadium and the night sky erupted in a dazzling firework display.

Yuna Kim lights the Olympic caldron
The Olympic caldron alight

With Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 to follow, PyeongChang 2018 kicks off a sequence of three East Asian Olympics in a row. We believe the PyeongChang Games will help kick-start an Olympic and Paralympic movement across the region, and we are hoping to leverage this momentum as we approach Tokyo 2020.