2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

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2018 Winter Olympics
opening ceremony
Opening ceremony DVo-tC7U0AAPyz3.jpg
Yuna Kim, South Korean Olympic figure skating champion, lights the Olympic cauldron
Date9 February 2018 (2018-02-09)
Time20:00 – 22:20 KST (UTC+9)
LocationPyeongchang, South Korea
Coordinates37°40′03″N 128°42′20″E / 37.66750°N 128.70556°E / 37.66750; 128.70556Coordinates: 37°40′03″N 128°42′20″E / 37.66750°N 128.70556°E / 37.66750; 128.70556
Also known asPeace in Motion
Filmed byOBS on behalf of SBS
FootagePyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony on YouTube

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea on 9 February 2018. It began at 20:00 KST and finished at approximately 22:20 KST. The Games were officially opened by President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in.


The site of the opening ceremony, Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, was built specifically for the Games. The pentagonal stadium seated 35,000. The organizers for the event said the shape was chosen because it is a combination of different shapes, a circle, a square, and a triangle, which represent heaven, earth, and mankind.[1][2] No Olympic or Paralympic events were be held at the stadium, which was only used for the opening and closing ceremonies. The venue was torn down afterwards.[3]

The broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games was available in more than 200 countries around the world.[4]

  • Ha Hyun-woo of the band Guckkasten, Ahn Ji-young of the musical duo Bolbbalgan4, Lee Eun-mi and Jeon In-kwon with his band Deulgukhwa performed and sang John Lennon's "Imagine" at the opening ceremony.[5]
  • The Rainbow Children's Choir performed an arrangement, with Korean traditional musical instruments, of the national anthem, “Aegukga”.[6] The multiethnic children's choir was formed to educate the Korean public about multicultural families living in Korea.[7][8]
  • Insooni sang the theme song for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay, "Let Everyone Shine".[9][10]


The ceremony's message centered on peace, passion, harmony, and convergence.[1][11]

Five children from rural Gangwon province led the ceremony, which included one Inmyeonjo (a mythical creature with a body of a bird and a head of a human, a creature that only appears when the world is at peace), four mythical creatures, including a white tiger – spirit animal protector of Korea and the mascot of these Games, natural floral and fauna, and a cast of 2,000. Five children were used to symbolize the five Olympic rings, and the five names were chosen to represent fire, water, wood, metal, and earth, the five elements that are believed to make up the Earth.[1][12][13]

Augmented reality and 5G technology were also incorporated in the event. The largest drone show in history, featuring 1,218 Shooting Star drones, was planned for the ceremony but cancelled at the last minute; television audiences were shown a version that had been recorded the previous December.[14][15]

During the opening ceremony the organizing committee was a victim of a cyber attack, but without major consequences.[16]


Parade of Nations[edit]

The Parade of Nations was led, according to custom due to hosting the original ancient Olympics, by the Greek team, followed by other competing countries in alphabetical order based on their names in the Korean language, with the host country, South Korea, concluding the march.[17]

The delegations from both the host nation South Korea and North Korea (Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics) marched under the Korean unification flag.[17] South Korean Won Yun-jong and North Korean Hwang Chung-gum both held the flagpole.[18][19]

Even though the temperature in the stadium during the ceremony was very cold, Bermuda's delegation wore shorts and Tongan Pita Taufatofua repeated his shirtless and oiled up Summer Olympic appearance.[18]

Background music for the parade began with an instrumental version of "Hand in Hand" by Koreana and included modern dance remixes of songs such as "단발머리" by Cho Yong-pil and of traditional Korean music, as well as the following K-pop hits: "Gangnam Style" by Psy, "Likey" by Twice, "Fantastic Baby" by Big Bang, "DNA" by BTS, and "Red Flavor" by Red Velvet.[20] "Red Flavor" was cut off just as the unified Korean team was introduced.

Torch lighting[edit]


The Olympic flame was on a 101-day relay across South Korea. The start of the ceremony takes place in Olympia of Greece. Apostles Angelis, 24 years old cross-country skier, is selected to be the first torchbearer. He said "It is a great honour for me to be chosen as the first torchbearer for the Olympic Winter Games of 2018. It is truly a unique moment that I am looking forward to. I feel very proud and with a unique sense of happiness."[21] Park Ji-Sung, football player in Republic of Korea, was the second person to hold the torch. After the flame touring around Greece for a week, it reached the Acropolis on 30 October.[21] There were 36 ceremonies held in different cities over a week, then the flame arrived to the PyeongChang Panathenaic Stadium. More than 500 torchbearers participated to follow the rituals of Olympic cycle, and carried the message of peace.[22] In the stadium, Opera soloist Sumi Hwang sang the Olympic anthem during the torch lighting ceremony. The final person to hold the torch was Inbee Park, the golfer from Republic of Korea. Jong Su-hyon from North Korea and Park Jong-ah from South Korea carried the torch and headed up stairs toward the cauldron.[23] As the torch neared the cauldron, an ice skating rink with South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim was revealed.[18] Yuna Kim is the well-known figure skater who won gold medal in 2010 and silver medal in 2014.[23] The cauldron was designed to represent a full moon when it is not lit. Kim received the torch and lit the cauldron.[1]

Wish Fire[edit]

The final segment entitled "Wish Fire" featured Korean dance group Just Jerk[24] (who became known internationally for their participation in the twelfth season of America's Got Talent) entered the stage dressed as Dokkaebi, and performers with sparklers on roller blades. This segment in total featured 2,000 fireworks within and out of the stadium, some reaching as high as 1,300 metres (4,300 ft).[1]

Intel® Drone Light Show[edit]

More than 1,200 Intel Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones flying above PyeongChang to celebrate the opening of 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Intel® drone team now holds the Guinness World Record of flying largest number of drones.[25] The drones flew together to form custom animations illustrating snow boarding, skiing, other different sports, as well as the iconic Olympic rings. The Shooting Star drones carried on the symbol of unity and progress from lighting of the torch.[26]


Russian hacking[edit]

On 24 February, The Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence uncovered Russian spies hacked computers during the Opening Ceremony, an act that was previously speculated to be the work of North Korea. Analysts believed the Russians instigated the 9 February attack as a way to retaliate for the International Olympic Committee's decision to restrict the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Winter Olympics as punishment for doping violations.[27][28]

Dignitaries in attendance[edit]

About 25 heads of state attended the ceremony, in addition to the UN Secretary General. President of Russia Vladimir Putin was invited to attend, but declined due to the ban on Russian athletes by the IOC.

Kim Yo-jong attending the ceremony

On 9 February 2018, Kim Yo-jong — sister of Kim Jong-un — attended the ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This was a first time that a member of the ruling Kim dynasty had visited South Korea since the Korean War.[51] Kim Yo-jong shook hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in before sitting down to watch the ceremony together.[18]


Ceremony key team[edit]

  • Artistic Director: Yang Jung-woong[5]
  • Executive Director, creative: Song Seung-whan[52]
  • Executive Director, cinematography: Lim Tae-hong, Andrew[52]


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External links[edit]