Fireworks, LED drones, energetic k-pop performances and dramatic views of the Olympic torch going out – the curtains were drawn on the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in historic style.
The ceremony, themed “The Next Wave”, brought together an incredible display of technological wizardry, with the stage doubling up as a giant slideshow feature, illuminated country flags lighting up the stands, and 300 LED drones forming the shape of a 50ft Soohorang, Pyeongchang’s teddy bear mascot, in the sky.
Thank you so much for all of you who have made the #PyeongChang2018 together with us. 전 세계의 관심과 환호 속에 17일 간의 대장정을 마무리한 2018 평창 동계올림픽. 우리의 #2018평창 동계올림픽이 성공적으로 끝날 수 있도록 함께해주신 여러분, 진심으로 감사합니다. #ThankYou pic.twitter.com/N9gZWxHn03
— PyeongChang 2018 (@pyeongchang2018) February 25, 2018
Beijing, which will host the next Winter Olympics in 2022, gave us a taster of what’s to come, with a rather Tron-like tableau featuring glow-in-the-dark, rollerskating (and later, flying) pandas, directed by Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.
The audience saw an exhausted but joyous procession of athletes at the ceremony, many of them brandishing their medals for the fans, others wielding selfie sticks. To the heavy beat of traditional Korean music, athletes let down their hair and, whether winners or losers, revelled in the moment.
Ivanka Trump made an appearance at the ceremony, waving at the audience and athletes.
Soohorang is so iconic. It’s the face of Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. This Soohorang drones is so beautiful. It stands out on the dark sky of the night. #Olympics_EXO @weareoneEXO pic.twitter.com/OlT1Qd0hgR
— Nation’s Boy Group✨ EXOlympics (@kjininihae) February 25, 2018
The highlight of the Olympics, other than its fantastic athletic performances, was the tentative friendship between North Korea and South Korea – something Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, mentioned in his closing speech.
“With your joint march you have shared your faith in a peaceful future with all of us,” said Mr Bach.
“You have shown how sport brings people together in our very fragile world, how sport builds bridges.”
Mr Bach added the 2018 Olympics was an “homage to the past and an act of faith to the future.”
Powerhouse k-pop acts EXO and CL took to the stage to ignite the audience at the end of the ceremony, and local boy DJ Raiden and later Dutch DJ Martin Garrix dropped some heart-stopping bass-lines.
As Garrix’s lyrics, “We don’t need much as long as we’re together,” blasted across the arena, athletes, volunteers and audience alike came together to celebrate the end of what was a fantastic display of sportsmanship and unity, in true tribute to the Olympics legacy.
Even better, the Winter Paralympics are scheduled to to start in 11 days.
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) February 25, 2018
BEIJING’S “WINTER DREAM”
#Bejing2022‘s handover performance last night was themed on “See You in Beijing in 2022”. We will work hard in the next four years to make it a truly “Joyful Rendezvous upon Pure Ice and Snow”! Come visit Beijing and Zhangjiakou in 2022 and anytime! #Olympics #PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/0pc64xGlN2
— Beijing 2022 (@Beijing2022) February 26, 2018
Set to host the Winter Olympics in 2022, Beijing was officially handed the Olympic flag at the Pyeongchang closing ceremony on 25 February.
Closing the ceremony, Lee Hi Boem, president of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee, said: “See you in Beijing!”
The emblem of the 2022 Olympics “points to the continuous efforts that China has made to realise the Winter Olympics dream and become a great sports nation.”
The official press release from the Beijing 2022 committee said: “China hopes to inspire millions of people to participate in winter sports, and will continue its commitment to promoting the worldwide development of winter sports and the international Olympic movement.”