All the Best Photos from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony
Welcome to Pyeonchang!
In frigid temperatures and under the watch of spectators around the world, South Korea opened the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang Friday night — or Friday morning here in the U.S. — with a joyous ceremony centered on peace.
Meet Soohorang the White Tiger
The colorful, culture-filled ceremony featured a group of young kids who appeared to embark on a journey through South Korea’s rugged mountains with Pyeongchang’s official Olympic mascot, Soohorang, a white tiger.
Story Time in PyeongChang
In the opener, the children encountered several other creatures, and danced alongside other characters in the sweet storyline. The 2018 opening ceremony followed in the tradition of the mass spectacle marking previous such openers at the Games in Rio de Janeiro; Sochi, Russia; London and others.
A Music-Filled Tribute to South Korea
A group of drummers stunned the crowd as they played along with a bevy of surrounding performers at the ceremony. The crowd roared as the drummers showed off their skills and, in the end, the musicians’ costumes transformed into the South Korean flag.
'A Fairy Tale in the Winter'
Though details had been kept largely under wraps, opening ceremonies customarily trace the history and culture of the host country. Yang Jung-woong, who directed the opener, reportedly teased beforehand that it would “be like a fairy tale in the winter. It’s a fantasy, which children see as a dream.”
Everyone's Favorite Hunky Tongan is Back!
Despite the frigid temperatures Pita Taufatofua was back in all his shirtless, oily glory at Friday's opening ceremony. Wearing a traditional outfit from his nation, the 34-year-old Polynesian athlete was once again greased up and sans top as he proudly hoisted his nation’s flag during the Parade of Nations.
Team USA Arrives
U.S. Olympians marched into PyeongChang Olympic Stadium with wide smiles on Friday during the ceremonial kick-off of the Games. The group added a special touch to the opening ceremony as South Korea showcased its culture through performance and spectacle on the world stage.
American Flag Waves in PyeongChang
Leading the U.S. crew in the Parade of Nations was Olympic luger Erin Hamlin — the first U.S. athlete to win an Olympic singles luge medal. With at least 240 U.S. athletes competing at the 23rd Winter Olympics, Hamlin carried the flag with the largest U.S. contingent ever.
U.S. Athletes (and Their Americana-Inspired) Duds
A Symbol of Peace
In a moving performance, a group of singers performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” surrounded by performers joining, lights in hand, to create a single, large dove. The stunning display drew gasps from the audience, as the performers moved from creating two doves to joinging together to creat one bird around the performers.
A Bright Return to South Korea
Pyeongchang 2018 marks the second time South Korea has held an Olympics. The Games were last held in the Asian country nearly 30 years ago, in 1988, according to the Washington Post. That year, Seoul hosted the Summer Olympics. Officials celebrated the return with a beautiful light show just as the opening ceremony began.
Olympic Athletes from Russia (or OAR)
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is enforcing a supposed outright ban on Russia’s participation in PyeongChang 2018 due to state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics four years ago. However, officials are allowing some Russian athletes to compete. During the Parade of Nations, the athletes marched under an Olympic flag and wore permitted hues of red and gray.