The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games will draw to a conclusion on Sunday after a record-setting run over the past two-plus weeks.
Since the opening ceremony on Feb. 9, PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, along with the sub-host cities of Gangneung and Jeongseon, has hosted 2,920 athletes from 92 countries -- both records for Winter Olympics. They vied for 102 gold medals, also a record for the quadrennial competition.
The last four gold medals will be won on Sunday -- in women's curling, women's mass start in cross-country skiing, four-man bobsleigh and men's ice hockey.
|South Korean women`s curling team (Yonhap)|
South Korea, hosting the Winter Olympics for the first time, had 144 athletes acroess all 15 sports.
They were joined by 22 North Korean athletes, who were granted special entries in four sports by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following a landmark inter-Korean agreement. While they failed to grab any medals, their presence in the first Winter Games held in South Korea was lauded as an important symbol of peace.
The Koreas marched in together behind the Korean Unification Flag at the opening ceremony, the first time they had a joint march at an Olympic Games in a dozen years. The divided countries also formed a unified women's ice hockey team, the first of its kind at any Olympics, and those 23 South Koreans and 12 North Koreans also became messengers of peace, respect and friendship at the Olympics.
|Unified ice hockey team (Yonhap)|
The joint hockey team had plenty of trouble winning games on the ice but had none drawing fans to the rink. Overall, PyeongChang sold 98 percent of its tickets through Saturday, with ticket revenue reaching over 150 billion won ($139.4 million).
The closing ceremony scheduled for Sunday at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium will comprise four big cultural shows highlighting the spirit of challenge and the future.
Titled "The Next Wave," the ceremony will highlight the Olympic spirit of challenge and will present a vision of the future and a message of peace, the PyeongChang Olympic organizing committee said. The production will also explore themes of harmony and inclusion.
The show will mix traditional Korean imagery with modern aesthetics while also presenting its future vision of Korea through K-pop productions headlined by boy band EXO and hip-hop songstress CL.
Visionary Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, who helmed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, will deliver a handover show previewing the spectacles expected at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
An aerial light display using Intel drones, which captivated television viewers around the world during the opening ceremony, will make a reappearance. Organizers, without providing a name, also said a world-renowned DJ will put on an EDM music show as the ceremony's finale.
Organizers plan to provide raincoats, blankets and disposable hand warmers to spectators at the venue. Temperatures are expected to drop as low as minus 3 degrees Celsius, with wind chill making it feel as low as minus 9 C by Sunday evening. (Yonhap)