Athletes from North Korea and South Korea parade together during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, at Pyeongchang Stadium, on February 9, 2018, in South Korea.
South Korea and its northern neighbor allied to launch a hopeful message at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games-2018 with the two delegations parading together, shortly after their leaders greeted each other in the stands.
The almost 150 athletes from both countries, 22 of them from North Korea, went around the stadium behind a unifying flag with the map of the peninsula in blue on a white background.
Shortly before the start of the opening ceremony, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, greeted each other.
The South Korean president approached the place where the North Korean delegation was and shook hands with Kim Yo Jong, the first member of the communist dynasty that governs North Korea to travel to South Korea.
Throughout the ceremony there were constant winks to peace, such as the theme ‚Imagine‘ by John Lennon, an ode to coexistence, sung by four well-known South Korean singers.
„I declare inaugurated the Pyeongchang Olympic Games,“ said Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, from the rostrum.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) applauded the gestures of the two Koreas at the ceremony and during the Games, since a unified women’s ice hockey team will participate in Pyeongchang, and two of its components participated in the ignition of the Olympic cauldron.
– Bach’s enthusiastic message –
The representatives of North and South Korea, Jong Su Hyon and Jong-ah, respectively, hold the Olympic Flame before lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, at Pyeongchang Stadium, on 9 February 2018
„You inspire all of us to live together in peace and harmony despite all our differences, you will inspire us by competing for the highest honor in the Olympic spirit of excellence, respect and fair play,“ said the German.
„A great example of the unifying power is the parade together here tonight of the two national Olympic committee teams of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and we thank them,“ he added.
„All the athletes around me, all the spectators here in the stadium and all the Olympism fans who are watching the ceremony around the world … are excited with this wonderful gesture, we all join you and support you in your message of peace „, concluded Bach.
After the period from 9 to 25 February, the date of the conclusion of the Games, it will be seen if these winks at the demilitarization are solid for the future.
On Saturday, conversations of senior leaders of both countries are scheduled.
Although before the ceremony, the US vice president, Mike Pence, dodged a dinner organized in these events.
Kim Yo Jong, sister of the North Korean leader, and the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, greet each other when they meet in the tribune of authorities during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, this Friday, February 9 in Pyeongchang , (South Korea)
Pence should have shared the same table as the South Korean and North Korean heads of state.
But a spokesman for the South Korean presidency explained that he had arrived late, had „greeted those who were at the table of honor, leaving without sitting down.“
– Hard blow for Russia –
If the two Koreas and the IOC can be satisfied with the signs of detente from both countries, which have remained theoretically at war since 1953 as no peace treaty was signed since that year’s armistice agreement, in Russia the disappointment is evident.
Behind a flag with the five Olympic rings and under the name of Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR), paraded the almost 170 athletes from this country to which the IOC has allowed to participate.
A few hours before the ceremony, the appeal of 47 Russian athletes who wished to participate in the Games was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS).
South Korean President Jae-in (C) applauds during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018.
Among these athletes and coaches are the Russian short-track star, Viktor Ahn, six times Olympic champion, or the biathlete Anton Shipulin.
The IOC welcomed the decision „with satisfaction“ and said that it „supports the fight against doping and clarifies things for all athletes,“ concluded the IOC president.
Shortly after the 47 athletes resigned to go in urgency to the Swiss justice, closing a priori their options to be in the Olympic edition.
This suspension, decided on December 5, is a consequence of the implementation of an institutionalized doping system in Russia, particularly at the Sochi-2014 Winter Games.
In this way, some 2,990 athletes from 92 countries will fight for the 102 golds at stake.