| ‘Historic’ Winter Olympics ends in style

February 25, 2018


2018-02-25 13:37:00

THE PyeongChang Olympics were hailed as the “Games of new horizons” as the curtain came down on the biggest Winter Games in history on Sunday night.

Declaring the Games closed, International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said the Olympics had been opened up to new athletes, countries, events and technologies.

“Therefore I can truly say: the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are the Games of new horizons,” he said.

“We are embracing these new horizons. We offer our hand to everybody to join forces in this faith in the future.”

The closing ceremony held before tens of thousands on the eastern end of the Korean Peninsula. As part of the ceremony, the Winter Games were “handed off” to Beijing, which will host them in 2022 after staging the 2008 Summer Olympics.

These games were punctuated by unexpected diplomacy between the two estranged Koreas, North and South, that resulted in their fielding a joint Olympic team — a diplomatic accomplishment that could signal an enduring thaw between the rivals.

Officials from both North Korea and the United States, which wants the North to give up its nuclear weapons, attended both the closing and opening. During the closing, the South Korean president’s office announced that a North Korean delegate had said Pyongyang is willing to hold talks with the US.

Earlier, Mr Bach handed off the Olympic flag to the mayor of Beijing, Chen Jining, symbolising the Winter Games’ journey over the next four years from PyeongChang, South Korea, to the Chinese capital in 2022. Beijing will be the first city to host both the summer and winter games. It hosted the summer edition in 2008.

The handover of the Olympic flag from one host city to the next was followed by a hi-tech lightshow where illuminated giant pandas and dancers skated around the Olympic Stadium.

It comes as American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy questioned what Ivanka Trump was doing at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Games.

Kenworthy tweeted a photo of his teammates Sunday and said: “So proud of all these people! Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well … Everyone except Ivanka.”

He then used an abbreviated profanity in asking why she was there. The elder daughter of US President Donald Trump watched the closing ceremony in the same box as South Korean President Moon Jae-In and top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol.

She has said the purpose of her visit is to advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Kenworthy earlier made headlines when he shared a televised kiss with his boyfriend after his Olympic run.

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