South Korea brings curtain down on 'Peace Games'

Fireworks during the closing ceremony of Winter Olympics 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters South Korea Feb 26, 2018, 01.20 AM (IST)

South Korea brought the curtain down on its "Peace Games" on February 25, with winter sports athletes dancing and singing together at a vibrant closing ceremony, though there was little warmth between dignitaries from the United States and North Korea.

South Korea President Moon Jae-in, who hopes to use these Games as an opportunity to engage with the North, warmly greeted U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka before offering a brief handshake to North Korean delegation leader Kim Yong Chol.

Despite the divisions and distrust between the two Koreas, they agreed to have their athletes march together at both the opening and closing ceremonies under a banner of unification. They also fielded a unified women's ice hockey team.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid tribute to the athletes, saying they were an example to the world.

"You have shown how sport brings people together in our fragile world," he said.

During his speech, Bach invited several athletes to join him on stage, including South Korea's gold medallist skeleton rider Yun Sung-bin, North Korean figure skater Ryom Tae Ok, American skier Lindsey Vonn and Tongan flag carrier Pita Taufatofua.

Bach signed off by calling upon the youth of the world to gather in Beijing in four years' time for the 2022 Winter Games.

With the ceremony showcasing cutting-edge South Korean technology and a remarkable drone show that dotted out the image of the Games mascot Soohorang, a white tiger, in the night sky, athletes marched into the stadium, many wearing their medals.

The Russian flag, absent at the opening ceremony, was again nowhere to be seen after the IOC decided not to lift the suspension on their country.