5 memorable moments from the Winter Olympics opening ceremony

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1. Peace at last?

South Korean president Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
South Korean president Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Mike Egerton/PA Images)

OK, so you cannot have missed it: two nations sharing the same peninsula, divided by a border which has so much more than geographical significance marched together as one. It was the 10th time South and North Korea have done so under a unified flag at major sporting events since 2000. But rarely has more been made of this, given Pyeongchang’s proximity to the North. The athletes wore white (the colour of peace) and were watched by Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. She is the first immediate member of the North’s ruling family to visit since the 1950-1953 Korean war and was greeted by Moon Jae-in, the South’s president.

2. Bare-chested cheek

Tonga flag bearer Pita Taufatofua opted for showmanship over warmth at the opening ceremony
Tonga flag bearer Pita Taufatofua opted for showmanship over warmth at the opening ceremony (David Davies/PA Images)

You will not have missed this either. Earlier in the week, Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua insisted it would be too cold to repeat his bare-chested march from Rio. But, after swapping taekwondo for cross-country skiing to appear here, he again appeared in traditional Tongan dress. Instead of a ta’ovala as in Rio, he wore a manafau, but he was again lathered in oil. It has warmed up considerably in Pyeongchang this week, but adrenaline may have also provided a welcome boost in temperatures still below zero.

3. Short on style

Flag bearer Tucker Murphy leads Bermuda into the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, in his shorts
Flag bearer Tucker Murphy leads Bermuda into the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, in his shorts (David Davies/PA Wire)

Bermuda’s small delegation, as is customary, showed a bit of knee at the opening ceremony, marching in their shorts. Their appearance was reminiscent of British postal workers, another group also known for their penchant for shorts.

4. The elephant in the arena

The Olympic Athletes from Russia during the opening ceremony
The Olympic Athletes from Russia during the opening ceremony (Mike Egerton/PA Images)

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach did not mention Russia in his speech. The fallout of the Sochi 2014 doping scandal continued all the way up to Friday’s opening ceremony and has dogged Bach’s presidency, but the majority of the 168 Olympic Athletes from Russia, who could not display their national flag, slipped into the stadium relatively unnoticed.

5. Not-so strong-armed Lizzy

Lizzy Yarnold leading Great Britain into the Winter Olympics opening ceremony
Lizzy Yarnold leading Great Britain into the Winter Olympics opening ceremony (Mike Egerton/PA Images)

Reigning Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold, Great Britain’s flag bearer, planned to emulate Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Chris Hoy and Andy Murray by carrying the Union flag in one hand. She waved the flag exuberantly at a second successive ceremony, after leading the British team into the Sochi 2014 closing ceremony four years ago. But she admitted afterwards: “I was hoping to carry it one-handed but I’m afraid I’m not that strong.”

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