The 23rd Olympic Winter Games officially kicked off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, today with a dazzling spectacle featuring a parade of participating nations and a whimsical storyline.
Although competition for the 2018 Winter Olympics began Thursday, the much-anticipated opening ceremony started today at 8 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in the normally-sleepy mountain town of Hoenggye, located in the Gangwon province of Pyeongchang County.
To fend off bitter cold and high winds in the area, spectators at the 35,000-seat temporary venue were provided with gear such as a raincoat, blanket and knitted hats as well as hand, feet and seat warmers. South Korea’s state weather agency reported temperatures during the opening ceremony that reached 27 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill below 16 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite the cold, the audience appeared awed by the spectacle of 20,000 fireworks set off throughout the show, with some soaring nearly a mile high.
Hopeful tale of world peace
The opening ceremony, titled “Peace in Motion,” emphasized its theme of peace by following the fairy-tale adventures of five imaginary children from Gangwon province with a cast of hundreds of other performers. The magical journey was performed in parts throughout the ceremony.
“The opening ceremony will weave together the narratives of five lovable protagonists from Gangwon province through cultural performances,” Yang Jung-woong, executive producer of the opening ceremony, said at a Jan. 23 news conference in Pyeongchang. “The stage will unfold like a winter fairy tale depicting the children’s adventure.”
The storyline’s five children — Haenaroe, Ara, Puri, Bichae and Nuri — travel through time to the past and future, learning about South Korea’s history and culture. In the mythic world that the children explore, they first see a land of peace where nature and people live in harmony.
When the children enter the future world, where everyone and everything are connected, they realize the importance of working together for peace.
The children return to the present world as their journey comes to an end. They hold lit candles, passing the candlelight to a family who then shares it with other performers onstage.
Source: ABC NEWS
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