Goodbye PyeongChang 2018! After 16 days of competition and months of diplomatic dealings, the 23rd Olympic Winter Games ended on Sunday with a closing ceremony that perfectly summed up these “Peace Games” and passed on the torch to Beijing 2022.
For IOC President Thomas Bach, the “new horizons” opened in South Korea are primarily technological, this “digital technology that has allowed more people in more countries to see winter sports through multiple modes”.
But these 2018 Olympics will perhaps one day enter the history of the new diplomatic horizons they have given birth to.
As the ceremony began almost an hour ago, the South Korean presidency said that North Korea was “willing” to talk with the United States.
A proposal which concretizes a little more the spectacular rapprochement made during this fortnight by the two Koreas. It remains to be if this Olympic truce was only a decoy, or if the milestones are solid.
The last night of the PyeongChang 2018 Games was teeming with symbols, such as the opening ceremony on February 9th, as Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter, and advisor to US President Donald Trump, sat the row in front of a North Korean general whose arrival was very controversial.
After the joint parade of the two Koreas during the opening ceremony, after the constitution of a unified women’s team of Korea in ice hockey, after also the presences of the sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in and the North Korean cheerleaders throughout the fortnight, is the handshake exchanged between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and General Kim Yong-chol, considered “criminal war” by the South Korean opposition, which will remain one of the highlights of the fence.
Kim Yong-chol is believed to have had a time running the General Reconnaissance Office managing North Korean spy operations and notably ordered the torpedoing of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in 2010, which left 46 dead.
But the time of an Olympic truce, everything seemed possible.
Behind the scenes, and in the diplomatic-sports field, the IOC had deflated the “Russian question” ahead of the closing ceremony by maintaining the suspension of the National Olympic Committee (ROC). No Russian flag in the Olympic stadium, therefore, and the 50 or so Olympic athletes from Russia was forced to run behind the Olympic banner, again.
The Olympic torch was sent to Beijing with great fanfare for 2022.
In the meantime, the Olympics will remain in Asia as the 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo. A series of meetings away from the original continent of the Olympics, before their return to Europe in 2024 in Paris.
At the end of the 16 days of competitions, 102 titles will have been awarded and strong images will remain. Like the one, still, Sunday morning, the South Korean women’s curling team, even beaten in the final by Sweden, whose members were unknown at the beginning of the Olympics and who will remain in history as the faces of PyeongChang 2018.
On Sunday, the last title of these Games came back as a symbol to the Norwegian Marit Bjorgen. Not content to have become in Korea the athlete – men and women alike – the most medalist in the history of Winter Olympics (15 podiums), she masterfully concluded PyeongChang 2018 triumph over the 30 km classic to allow Norway to finish at the top of the medal board.
See you soon 38, she will probably not travel to Beijing in four years. What will be the hopes raised by these Games of Peace?
Trudeau salutes the athletes
“Over the past two weeks, Canadian athletes have filled us with pride, kept us in front of our screens until late at night and dazzled us, one event after another,” said the press release yesterday. Minister Justin Trudeau. With your power, your speed, your grace and your determination, you have pushed the limits in every sport. You’ve done your best, showing us what a real team looks like.”
“I also salute athletes from around the world for their outstanding achievements, and I sincerely thank South Korea for organizing these successful Games,” said Justin Trudeau.
Final table of the medals in PyeongChang 2018
Rank, Country, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Total
1. Norway: 14-14-11-39
2. Germany: 14-10-7-31
3. Canada: 11-8-10-29
4. United States: 9-8-6-23
5. The Netherlands: 8-6-6-20
6. Sweden: 7-6-1-14
7. South Korea: 5-8-4-17
8. Switzerland: 5-6-4-15
9. France: 5-4-6-15
10. Austria: 5-3-6-14
11. Japan: 4-5-4-13
12. Italy: 3-2-5-10
13. Russian Olympic athletes: 2-6-9-17
14. Czech Republic: 2-2-3-7
15. Belarus: 2-1-0-3
16. China: 1-6-2-9
17. Slovakia: 1-2-0-3
18. Finland: 1-1-4-6
19. Great Britain: 1-0-4-5
20. Poland: 1-0-1-2
21. Hungary: 1-0-0-1
21. Ukraine: 1-0-0-1
23. Australia: 0-2-1-3
24. Slovenia: 0-1-1-2
25. Belgium: 0-1-0-1
26. Spain: 0-0-2-2
26. New Zealand: 0-0-2-2
28. Kazakhstan: 0-0-1-1
28. Latvia: 0-0-1-1
28. Liechtenstein: 0-0-1-1