As South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife greeted VIPs in their dignitary box to watch the opening ceremony, they turned to shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, who arrived earlier in the day on an unprecedented visit to the South by a member of the North’s ruling Kim family.
All broke out in broad smiles.
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was at the opening ceremony with North Korea’s nominal head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam.
They are part of an extraordinary diplomatic push by the North aimed at using the Olympics to ease tensions with Seoul and bolster unity between the two Koreas after a year that has been marked by escalating fears of war and increasing angry rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.
As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly. It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.
US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife were seated beside the Moons and next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife.
His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un impersonators were kicked out of the opening ceremony but not before making a call for peace.
“We get along personally, so I believe that Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, if they talked they’d probably get along. Because in my opinion, they’re pretty much the same person,” the Kim impersonator said.
“And Dennis Rodman has confirmed this and he’s met both of them personally,” he added, referring to the former NBA player who has met with Kim multiple times.
“So let’s start talking and stop with all the missiles and everything else,” the impersonator said. “We want peace, everybody wants peace, nobody wants war.”
SCOTTY JAMES LEADS AUSTRALIAN TEAM OUT
Snowboarder Scotty James led Australia’s team out to cheers in PyeongChang overnight.
Resplendent in their silver parkas and green trousers, the 51-member team marched into the Olympic stadium in 53rd position according to the Korean alphabet.
At just 23, James is a three-time Olympian and one of our strongest medal chances.
He is the reigning world champion in his event and is a frequent medallist on the World Cup and X-Games tours.
US SPEED SKATER BOYCOTTS CEREMONY AFTER CONTROVERSY
Erin Hamlin led Team USA into the opening ceremony but one person who wasn’t there was five-time Olympian Shani Davis, who boycotted the ceremony.
Davis, who has won two gold medals and two silver medals, and is one of the only African Americans on the team, felt that he should have been the flag bearer.
In an angry tweet, Davis, took a shot at Hamlin, the holder of a single bronze medal.
“I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event,” Davis wrote on Twitter.
He then slammed Team USA for “dishonorably” tossing a coin to decide who would have the honor of carrying the flag.
“No problem. I can wait until 2022,” he added before using the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth2018.’
His team said he had no plans to attend the opening ceremony unless he was the flag bearer, instead deciding to focus on his race.
SOUTH KOREAN GOLD MEDALIST LIGHTS CAULDRON
South Korean figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim has ignited the Olympic cauldron for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Kim won a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and a silver at the 2014 Sochi Games before retiring from competition.
She remains perhaps the country’s most popular sports personality and has worked as a goodwill ambassador to promote the Pyeongchang Games.
A North Korean and South Korean from the countries’ joint hockey team also participated in the ceremony, handing off to Kim.
The opening ceremony kicked off what will be the biggest Winter Olympic Games to date with more than 2900 athletes from 92 countries competing.
The athletes started marching in the Opening Ceremony - with Greece leading the way.
The show kicked off with a fireworks display surrounding the stadium, finishing with the word “Welcome” lighting up the night sky.
The theme of the ceremony was “peace” and the story followed the adventures of five children from Gangwon province (the region where the Olympics is being held).
The children watched as a turtle ship made of gold life floated over their heads before a golden tiger appeared.
A human-operated puppet tiger entered the stage, followed by the five kids.
The white tiger is a “protector of peace”.
Hundreds of female dancers dressed in red and white took to the stage with drums, some weaving intricate patters as they go, while others sat in a circle in the centre.
They finished in the shape of the South Korean flag.
After the marching drummers left the stadium, eight former South Korean athletes entered carrying their national flag.
A choir then sang the national anthem as the flag is raised.
Tonight was one of the first — and last — time the stadium will be used.
The five-sided 35,000-seat stadium cost about $100 million to build, but its primary use is for only four events: The opening and closing ceremonies for both the Olympics and Paralympics. Then it will be torn down and the site will be rebuilt with a museum and leisure facilities.
Members of the North Korean delegation sat in seats in the upper deck, cheering for the North Korean taekwondo team performing in the centre of the stadium.
North and South Korea marched in together under a united flag.
They were the last team to enter the stadium.
The entire PyeongChang Olympics could cost South Korea up to 14 trillion won ($12.9 billion).
South Korea is hosting the games for the first time since 1988, when Seoul was the home of the summer games.