The XXIII winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang have officially been opened

The elegant cauldron was lit with the Olympic torch by Korean figure skater, the 2010 Winter Olympic champion and the 2014 Olympics silver medalist, Kim Yuna. The flame will burn until 25 February 2018. We hope that then our team will march across the stadium under the Russian flag.

Today our delegation marched under the IOC flag, which was carried by a volunteer. But of course, the ceremony was not boycotted contrary to speculation by some media. A group of 80 people marched across the stadium, as planned. And everybody knew what country the represent!

Meanwhile it’s the third time that  our athletes compete under the IOC flag. At the 26th Winter Olympics in Albertville (France) in February 1992 after the disintegration of the USSR, the team of athletes from six former Soviet republics was officially called the United Team. The quotas were won together and the NOCs of the new states have not yet joined the IOC. In summer in Barcelona in honor of the winners of the individual competition the flag of the country represented by the athlete was raised, while in team sports our athletes still performed under the IOC flag. The Olympic anthem, in particular, was played in honor of the women’s basketball team, trained by Eugeniy Gomelsky.

After the colorful artistic part of the ceremony, the legends of Korean sport brought the flag of their country to the Olympic stadium. The children’s choir sang the national anthem of the Republic of Korea. And the parade of participants began. The countries were introduced in the alphabetic order (Korean alphabet).

A delegation of the Olympic athletes from Russia was number 55, between Austria and Uzbekistan. The exception was made for Greece. Greek athletes customarily launch the Olympians’ parade, which this time ended with North and South Korean athletes, marching under a flag symbolizing the unity of the Koreas, special flag with a picture of the Korean Peninsula blue on a white background.

Athletes from North Korea has been participating in the Games since 1964, but they missed Sochi-2014. The team will compete in Alpine skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating and Short Track. In addition, the women’s hockey team will consist of athletes from both the South and the North of the Peninsula.

In total 92 countries will take part in the Olympic Games plus the Olympic Athletes from Russia team. For the first time in the history of the Winter Games more than hundred sets of medals will be played — 102 in 15 sports.