The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics concluded Sunday evening in South Korea. The closing ceremony saw fewer athletes than the opening event 17 days ago — some Olympians have already gone home — but didn’t skimp on pageantry, K-pop and expressions of hope for peace between the two Koreas.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of the U.S. president, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat near a visiting North Korean general, Kim Yong Chol, believed to be a former spy chief, whose delegation had earlier been met with a sit-in by conservative South Korean lawmakers near the border crossing.
“Although parting is sad, we will remember Pyeongchang with beautiful memories. Athletes, you are true champions,” said Lee Hee-beom, the Pyeongchang Olympics organizing committee president. “The seed of peace you have planted here in Pyeongchang will grow as a big tree in the not-distant future. The hope and aspirations of South and North Korean athletes together with cheerleaders will definitely serve as a cornerstone of the unification of the Korean Peninsula.”
Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, said North and South Korea “have shown how sport brings people together in our very fragile world. You have shown how sport builds bridges.”
With the Olympic flame extinguished in Pyeongchang, the torch has been passed to Beijing. In 2022, the Chinese capital will host the next Winter Games. In the meantime, we have the Summer Olympics to look forward to in Tokyo in 2020.