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K-Pop boy band EXO perform during the Closing Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Sunday, February 25. © David Ramos/Getty Images

Olympic Games News

Proud PyeongChang bids farewell to Winter Olympics

Date : 26 Feb 2018

PyeongChang, Korea, February 25, 2018: The first part of the Olympic Games’ Asian Era came to an emotional end at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Sunday night. The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, closed the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the IOC flag was passed to Beijing, which will host the next edition in 2022. 

In between PyeongChang and Beijing will come the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as Asia hosts three consecutive Olympic Games. President Bach directly addressed the athletes from the Republic of Korea and DPR Korea and said they had shown how “sport brings people together in our very fragile world and how sport builds bridges” by marching together in the opening ceremony on February 9.

He said the IOC would continue with dialogue after the flame had been extinguished in the search for peace on the Korean peninsula.

By welcoming a record number of National Olympic Committees – 91, plus the OAR representing the suspended Russian Olympic Committee – presenting new sports events and embracing digital technology, President Bach said PyeongChang 2018 were the Games of “New Horizons” – highlighting the official slogan of the 23rd Winter Olympics.

President Bach thanked South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, for his personal commitment and determination to make PyeongChang 2018 a great success. The ceremony began with the Korean national anthem and flag-raising before the first part of the cultural performance called “Light of Harmony” featuring a traditional Korean instrument known as a geomungo and a prayer pagoda symbolising unity.

The parade of athletes followed and, as is customary, was much less formal then the opening ceremony. The North Korean delegation wearing red tracksuits walked in front of the South Korean team dressed in white, and athletes and officials waved a combination of South Korean, North Korean and the white and blue unification flags.

The next sequence of the performance, “Axis of New Time”, depicted a dynamic contemporary dance piece and led into the victory ceremonies for two cross-country skiing events held earlier in the day, the introduction of the new members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and recognition of the volunteers.

The noise volume increased significantly with the appearances of leading K-Pop artists CL and later EXO in “Song of Passion” – displaying the new, modern Korea whose culture has swept the globe, especially in Asia. 

Beijing was given eight minutes to introduce the next Winter Olympics in a performance directed by the legendary movie director and producer Zhang Yimou, famous for movies such as Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern and Hero. Zhang also directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

With two robot-like pandas on roller skates, a team of brightly lit dancers acted out various winter sports against a background of picture frames showcasing the delights of Beijing and China. The speeches by the President of organising committee POCOG, Lee hee-beom, and IOC President Bach followed, before the Olympic flame was extinguished. 

President Lee said: “In PyeongChang the world became one. The seeds of peace you have planted here will grow into a big tree soon.”  The ceremony ended with “Victory Night” with lively electronic music and colourful lights illuminating the night sky. The games have been a great success in terms of venues, competitions, organisation and fan support – the first step in the Asian Era.

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