The opening ceremony for next month's PyeongChang Winter Olympic will highlight peace by following the fairytale-like adventures of five imaginary children from rural South Korea exploring the country's culture and history, organizers said Tuesday.
The Feb. 9 opener for South Korea's first Winter Games, titled "Peace in Motion," will start at 8 p.m. with the chiming of bells welcoming Winter Olympians and fans from around the world to the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, according to the organizing committee for the PyeongChang Games.
"The opening ceremony will weave together the narratives of five lovable protagonists from Gangwon Province through cultural performances," Yang Jung-woong, executive producer of the opening event, said during a press conference at the Main Press Centre in Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
Yang Jung-woong (Left), executive producer of the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Song Seung-whan (Center), executive creative director, and Lee Hee-beom, head of the organizing committee for PyeongChang 2018, brief reporters on the opening and closing ceremonies of next month's Winter Games on Jan. 23, 2018, at the Main Press Centre in Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)
Yang explained that the audiences will be taken through time to the history of the Korean people's unrelenting search for peace. "The show will lead to the future in which people and technology are brought together," explained Yang.
"The stage will unfold like a winter fairytale depicting the children's adventure," the producer said, adding that the show will feature "various magical scenes produced by limitless imagination."
The closing ceremony on Feb. 25 is named "Next Wave" and will highlight the human spirit of perseverance in overcoming trials to open a new tomorrow. It will also incorporate themes of acknowledging differences and working towards coexistence among different people.
"It will be produced in an omnibus format in which the music, dance, art and visuals are neither too traditional nor too modern. It will light up beautifully by combining tradition and dynamic modern culture," Jang Yu-jung, executive producer of the closing ceremony, said.
Song Seung-whan, executive creative director of the ceremonies, said that the planning and production of both events were already fixed before the decision was made for North Korea to cross the militarized border and participate in the Winter Games in the South.
"There's been no change due to the decision on North Korea's participation, other than the change of music to 'Arirang' (during the joint entrance of the two Koreas)," Song said.
Song, however, noted that the message of peace during the opening ceremony may be better emphasized by North Korea's participation in the games. The executive creative director also said that there are talks of North Korea possibly staging a taekwondo demonstration during the pre-ceremony performances.
"I've heard of talk of a possible taekwondo demonstration by North Korea but it's not fixed.... I'm told that it's being discussed."
The organizers also unveiled the design of the Olympic cauldron, where the sacred flame will be lit throughout the Winter Games.
The cauldron is inspired by a moon jar, a type of traditional Korean white porcelain, and will be held aloft by five finger-like towers. It was designed by Kim Young-se, who also created the torch for the PyeongChang Olympics.
"We're preparing a surprising event for lighting the Olympic cauldron," Song said.