Olympic Games officially underway as Yuna Kim lights Olympic cauldron

Team Canada entered the stadium around 7 a.m. ET, led by figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

Olympic Games officially underway as Yuna Kim lights Olympic cauldron
The opening ceremony featured an impressive fireworks display. © Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

By Pete Evans, CBC News

The lavish ceremony officially opening the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is over, with Friday's display highlighted by South Korean Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim lighting the flame, but the competition is just beginning for the athletes.

CBC carried the opening ceremony live Friday as the official Canadian broadcaster for the Games.


It began with a short video and interactive display featuring five children wandering through a mythical, snowy landscape and discovering a world where people live in peace and harmony. The video ended with the children meeting a hologram of a tiger — a symbolic animal in Korean culture.

The children then appeared onstage with an animatronic tiger, with their performance culminating with the singing of the South Korean anthem. The two Koreas are appearing under one unified flag in these Games, so the singing of the anthem was South Korea's first moment to stand out alone.

The parade of nations began at around 6:20 a.m. ET. As per Olympic tradition, Greece was the first nation to parade through the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.

Among many highlights was the entrance of Tongan athlete Pita Taufatofua, who made headlines two years ago in Rio for carrying his country's flag while shirtless and oiled up.

He chose the same "outfit" for Friday's ceremony, despite the sub-zero temperatures.

In 2014, he was competing in taekwondo. In Pyeongchang, he's Tonga's only athlete, and will be competing in cross-country skiing. Much of his training was done on roller skis.

Team Canada entered the stadium a little after 7 a.m. ET with its largest-ever contingent — 225 athletes and 87 coaches donning red-and-white gear featuring the maple leaf. They were led into the stadium by decorated ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, beaming as they waved Canada's flag. 

Virtue and Moir are the first figure skaters given the Olympic flag-bearer honour since Kurt Browning in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994.

After more than 2,900 athletes from 91 nations had made their way into the stadium, the spectacle concluded with speeches by dignitaries, including International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

Bach thanked the North and South Korea delegations for working together, and said the two countries sent a "powerful message of peace to the world."

That message was reinforced in the night's grand finale, when two players for the unified Korean women's hockey team — Park Jong-ah from South Korea, and Jong Su-hyon from North Korea —took the Olympic flame through the penultimate leg of its journey, climbing stairs up to a platform just below the Olympic cauldron.

On that platform, Yuna Kim, the 2010 gold medallist in women's figure skating and silver medallist in the 2014 Games, was waiting.

Kim won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and a silver at the 2014 Sochi Games before retiring from competition.

She took the torch, and lit the cauldron, officially opening the 23rd Winter Games.