Opening Ceremony Highlights

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, officially kicked off tonight with an unforgettable Opening Ceremony at the PyeongChang Olympic Plaza.

“Peace in Motion”, had been promised by creative director Song Seung-whan at a preliminary press conference regarding the ceremony programme, and that’s exactly what was delivered to the spectators in Hoenggye.

People around the world watched in delight as five children from rural Gangwon province embarked on an adventure that incorporated Korean cultural heritage and the beauty of the host nation’s natural landscape.

A fascinating spectacle from start to finish, here are just some of the highlights of the very special night.

The Lighting of the Olympic Cauldron

The lighting of the Olympic Cauldron was always going to be a monumental moment, but the event exceeded expectations on all accounts. For the citizens of PyeongChang and the surrounding areas, the lighting of the flame was the culmination of all their hard work and patience over the last number of years.

A secret for many, the reveal of the final torchbearer sent ripples of excitement throughout the stadium. The special honour was reserved for KIM Yeon-ah (Yuna Kim). Nobody in the Republic of Korea will ever forget that gold medal performance in Vancouver 2010 and eight years later, the PyeongChang crowd reminds their former champion, how much she will always mean to them. As she gracefully skated above the stadium on the ice platform, her elegant routine set The Olympic Winter Games in motion.

Formation of the Taegeukgi

The Taegeukgi pattern is the central photo to many as the flag of the Republic of Korea. Although everyone was prepared for the symbol to make an appearance at some point in the evening, nobody could have expected the exhilarating role that the Janggo drumming performance would play in its formation.

The four Taegeukgi trigrams represent heaven, earth, fire, and water. They also embody the changes of yin and yang.

Soohorang: Mascot, Symbol, Storyteller

Tonight, the world watched as the PyeongChang 2018 mascot Soohorang, evolved from his cute and loveable self and transformed into a magnificent white tiger, taking centre stage at the stadium. Within moments of his appearance, he was joined by other legendary folklore companions with appearances from a tortoise, the red bird (phoenix) and the dragon.

Together, these four creatures are the Sashindo, the godly figures that guide the five local children from rural Gangwon province on an unforgettable adventure.

Media were in formed after the Ceremony that a former creative director from the Broadway production of the Lion King assisted in this segment of the production.

Parade of Athletes

The traditional Parade of Athletes started with Greece with other delegations, following in alphabetical order according to the Korean alphabet. The name of each country, written in Hangeul, flashed around the LED screens on the stadium, accompanied by each NOC’s flag. This was truly a special moment for the athletes marching. The pinnacle for this proud moment was the final entrance of athletes, under one flag, Korea.

The Volunteers

Volunteers were integral to the success of the Opening Ceremony, with the Passion Crew seen making sure guests had an enjoyable experience throughout the evening. For more than an hour, one team of dedicated Passion Crew volunteers took centre stage, helping to keep the tempo going as the athletes entered the stadium to the sound of popular Korean songs.

The Dove of Peace

One thousand residents of Gangwon Province entered the stage, before standing in the formation in dove, holding lit candles. The enthusiasm of these particular individuals was commended by many of the POCOG staff members who had witnessed the rehearsals of the dove sequence first hand and were impressed by the commitment of the citizens to the performance.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was the identity of the roster of famous faces that would sing in the centre of the Dove on Friday night. AN Ji-yeong, JEON In-kwon, HA Hyun-woo and LEE Eun-mi were unveiled as special guests for the evening. These four unique performers, (with four unique voices) were trusted with the honour of showing the world the scope of talent the Korean music community has to offer.

Just Jerk / Dokkaebi

As the Olympic flame was lit, the Dokkaebi that live in the forests of Gangwon province appeared one by one. It was soon clear to all that they were no ordinary Dokkaebi; they were the one and only Just Jerk. These America’s Got Talent hip hop dance crew superstars delivered an electrifying performance that portrayed the transference of the Olympic Flame to the people. A mesmerising performance. For more read our interview about Just Jerk’s preparation behind the scenes.

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