The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 closed yesterday following 17 tumultous and exciting days of events. The Closing Ceremony was held at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, with athletes from the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea once again marching together into the arena.
At the beginning of the Ceremony, images of Winter Olympic sports and athletes performing on the Olympic snow and ice were projected onto the stage using zoetrope animation.
There followed a blend of rock music performed by a 13 year-old guitarist and a traditional dance routine performed by a solo dancer, the combination sending a subtle message of harmony and convergence. After memorable moments of the PyeongChang Games were replayed on the giant screens, athletes from all the participating countries filed slowly into the stadium in the now traditional festive spirit.
Towards the end of the Ceremony, IOC President Mr. Thomas Bach, Mayor of PyeongChang Mr. Sim Jae-kook and Beijing Mayor Mr. Chen Jining ascended the stage to conduct the official Olympic flag handover, with PyeongChang symbolically passing the flag to Beijing via the IOC President. During President Bach's speech, several athletes, including the topless and barefooted Pita Taufatofua from Tonga and Japan's speed skating gold medallist Nao Kodaira—who famously skated a compassionate lap of honour with the Korean favourite she defeated in the 500 meter speed skating final—were welcomed onto the stage.
The city of Beijing then put its stamp on the handover ceremony with a dazzling display of formation roller skating by 24 performers, each representing a past edition of the Winter Olympic Games. Beijing will be the first ever city to host both a Summer and a Winter Olympic Games. The message from the 2022 host city – a composite display of good wishes from over 60 million Chinese via social networks – read “See You in Beijing in 2022”.
The five children who performed at the Opening Ceremony then appeared on stage once again and unveiled a Snow Globe featuring the beautiful winter landscape of PyeongChang. The Olympic Flame that burned throughout the Games was then gently extinguished.
The second part of this amazing global sporting spectacle – the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games – will take place from 9 to18 March.