The Olympic torch has been lit and the games are officially underway!
After 101 days travelling around South Korea, starting in Incheon the torch has made it to it’s resting place in PyeongChang. 7500 people have carried the torch on it’s journey before Yuna Kim, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist in 2010, lit the torch.
Before Kim lit the torch, two athletes competing under the Unified Korean Flag, Chung Su-Hyon of North Korea and Park Jong-ah of South Korea who will be competing side by side on the Hockey Rink carried it up the stairs. The Unified flag had a mixed reception from the local crowd but the rest of the world has seen this Olympic agreement as a powerful statement from both countries looking to settle differences, this prompted International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, to declare it a “powerful message of peace to the world”.
The Opening Ceremony is always a sight to be seen and represent the host country as well as offer a welcome to the rest of the world. Held in a temporary stadium in PyeongChang, which will be demolished after the game, 35,000 spectarors enjoyed the show. Song Seung-Whan was in charge of directing the show and, despite a limited budget, directed the 1300 performers beautifully and put on a show which words can not put justice too, one must watch this for themselves to understand the brilliance of the ceremony.
The audience was well treated in the stands, as temperatures dropped below freezing there is not many people who would want to sit in those stands. Outdoor heaters were stationed around the stadium to keep people warm but each seat came with a goodie bag full of treats to keep people warm, a padded mat to sit on, a blanket, overcoat, a hat, hand warmers, free coffees and a mini torch (presumably to participate in the light show and not to get home when the lights are turned off).
The parade of athletes is an amazing who’s who of athletes and nations, each nation is announced to the crowd, and parades, in alphabetical order. This lead to mass confusion around the world when Norway and the Netherlands were the first countries appearing at the ceremony as the host nation had rightly chose to use their own alphabet. The parade always provides a rainbow of colours with the Kazakhstani blue, Swedish Yellow and Irish Green standing out as some of the brightest.
However one man has made stealing the show his personal goal, Pita Taufatofua made a name for himself when he carried the Tongan flag in Rio de Janeiro 2016, his countries national dress gives Pita the chance to show off his oiled up topless physique that will leave many in awe and many amazed he hasn’t frozen to death! After an unsuccessful Summer Olympics many people around the world will be cheering Pita on when he competes as a Cross Country Skier, just over a year since he started training for the event and less than a month since he qualified for the event.
Written by Imran Ali