The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games have come to a close after 17 days of heated competition on the ice and snow.
The global athletic festival drew its final curtain with the Closing Ceremony held at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 25.
The Closing Ceremony put on a spectacular show titled “The Next Wave” that married tradition with cutting edge technology. As the acts unfolded, the stadium overflowed with a cacophony of music, dance, colors and artwork inspired by the East and the West.
Energetic performances by K-pop boy band Exo and singer CL followed. Then came “Eight Minutes of Beijing,” a dazzling show prepared by Beijing, the host of the next Winter Olympic Games in 2022. After a pair of illuminated giant pandas roller-skated across the stage with a lineup of other dancers in a roller-disco display of lights, Xi Jinping invited the world to Beijing through a video.
As the Olympic torch that lit up this year’s Winter Games dimmed, PyeongChang Organizing Committee (POCOG) President Lee Hee-beom said, “The world came together as one in Pyeongchang. Everyone here gained friendships through laughter and tears, regardless of nationality, race, religion or gender.”
“Moreover, the friendship shared between the North and South Korean athletes showed us the possibility of a brighter future. The seeds of peace we have sown in Pyeongchang will grow into a sturdy, tall tree and serve as the foundation for the reunification of the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
he closing ceremony was attended by the Olympic athletes, over 30,000 audience members, as well as President Moon Jae-in, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, Ivanka Trump, daughter to the U.S. president, North Korean General Kim Yong Chol and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong.
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The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games, held in the three host cities of Pyeongchang, Gangneung and Jeongseon, were highly praised for their management, performances, and Olympic records.
The associated Cultural Olympiad, showcasing a plentiful program of cultural events, was received quite favorably by the public. It was also dubbed as the “Smart Olympics” thanks to high-tech innovations such as 5G wireless networks, robots, AI and drones.
Furthermore, with North Korea’s participation in the Games, Pyeongchang was able to realize an “Olympics of Peace.” Athletes from North and South Korea marched together under one flag at the Opening Ceremony for the first time in 11 years. The two Koreas fielded a joint women’s ice hockey team.
IOC President Bach pointed to North Korea’s participation as the highlight of the PyeongChang Winter Games during an IOC press conference held just a few hours before the Closing Ceremony.
“The joint march of the two Koreas and the unified ice hockey team sent a powerful message of peace, which transcends sport, to the entire world. Having this happen on the Korean Peninsula amid all this tension made it all the more important,” said Bach.
“Now, the hope is that the political world will use this momentum to engage in peaceful dialogue on their level, beyond sport and the IOC,” he said.