[OLY] Winter Olympics kicks off with joint march by two Koreas

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-02-09 22:37 Updated : 2018-02-13 15:49
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Photo by Namgung Jin-woong = timeid@ajunews.com]

PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 09 (Aju News) -- Under the theme of peace, the Winter Olympics kicked off in a colorful ceremony highlighted by a joint march by South and North Korean athletes and the presence of top officials from the two Koreas.

The pentagon-shaped stadium was filled with wild cheers when South and North Korean athletes wearing white winter jackets marched together behind a single flag to the traditional folk music "Arirang" arranged with an electronic-dance flavor.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Kim Yong-nam, the North's nominal head of state, who sat just behind the presidential couple. They all stood up, clapped and waved in a jubilant mood, watching the historic joint march.

[Yonhap News Photo]

Well before the opening ceremony, more than 200 North Korean cheerleaders brightened up the festive mood, singing, dancing in a synchronized action and chanting slogans such as "We are one!" They shouted "Unification" when martial arts demonstrators from the two Koreas held a joint performance in a pre-opening event.

"A great example of this unifying power is the joint march here tonight of the two (Korean) teams," International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said in an opening speech, adding the joint march sent another message of peace.

"United in our diversity, we are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us," Bach said. "We all join and support you in your message of peace."

"The entire world watched and witnessed another historic joint marching of the South and North Korean athletes under the Korean Peninsula flag," Lee Hee-beom, the chief Olympic organizer, said. "It means two Koreas became one unified Korea through the Olympic Games."


[Photo by Namgung Jin-woong = timeid@ajunews.com]

Two players from the joint Korean women's hockey team carried the Olympic flame together and handed it over to South Korean figure skating queen Kim Yu-na. 

Dressed in a figure skating costume, Kim skated around on the ice installed under the cauldron and lit the cauldron. Pyeongchang is the largest Winter Olympics attended by 2,920 athletes from 92 nations competing for 102 gold medals.