Eight South Korean athletes, including a handful of Olympic champions, carried the national flag into the main stadium for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, during the opening ceremony on Friday.
The eight were: Kang Kwang-bae, a three-time Olympian in bobsleigh, luge and skeleton; Jin Sun-yu, a triple Olympic gold medalist in short track speed skating in 2006; Pak Se-ri, a World Golf Hall of Famer who coached Park In-bee to women's gold in 2016; Lee Seung-yuop, the 2008 Olympic baseball gold medalist; Hwang Young-cho, the 1992 Olympic marathon champion; Seo Hyang-soon, 1984 Olympic archery gold medal winner; Lim O-kyeong, a member of the gold medal-winning women's handball team in 1992; and Ha Hyung-zoo, the 1984 Olympic judo champion.
|Former South Korean Olympians and Olympic gold medalists carry the national flag into PyeongChang Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)|
The presentation of the flag at PyeongChang Olympic Stadiumwas part of a segment titled "Taegeuk: Harmony of the Cosmos."
The taegeuk, the interlocking semi-circles in the center of the flag, called Taeguekgi, represents yin and yang, and the four trigrams at each corner of the square represents heaven, earth, fire, and water.
Though he never won a medal, Kang is considered a pioneer in sliding sports in South Korea. Jin remains the only female South Korean athlete to win three gold medals at a single Winter Olympics.
While Pak and Lee carved out successful professional careers, their Olympic achievements were highlighted during Friday's ceremony. Pak provided inspiration for the likes of Park and other young golfers in the mid-20s, who grew up watching Pak dominate the LPGA Tour in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Lee, the all-time home runs leader in South Korea's top baseball league, hit a pair of monumental home runs in the country's undefeated run to the gold medal at Beijing 2008 -- a two-run blast against Japan in the semifinals, and another two-run bomb against Cuba in the gold medal game.
Hwang won the memorable gold in men's marathon in Barcelona, becoming the first Korean-born man to win an Olympic marathon title since Sohn Kee-chung in 1936. Sohn ran under the Japanese flag in 1936 as Korea was under Japanese colonial rule.
Seo and Ha were part of an early generation of South Korean Olympic champions, ushering in an era of the country's excellence in the Summer Games with their performances in Los Angeles.
Lim won three Olympic medals in her illustrious career, adding silvers in 1996 and 2004 to her 1992 gold. (Yonhap)