As it happenedended1518204906

Winter Olympics 2018 opening ceremony as it happened: news from Pyeongchang as the 23rd Games begin

All the highlights from the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium

Liam Corless
Friday 09 February 2018 12:41
Fireworks light up Winter Olympics 2018 opening ceremony

The 2018 Winter Olympics begins in Pyeongchang on Friday and the opening ceremony took centre stage to kick-off the 23rd Games.

The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium welcomed all 92 countries boasting nearly 3,000 athletes, with all eyes on the sight of North and South Korean competitors uniting to walk into the stadium together for the first time.

There was also plenty of attention on the Russian athletes that will feature under the ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ banner, with 169 Russians cleared to compete despite the Russian doping scandal resulting in the nation being banned by the International Olympic Committee. Korea will be the last nation to march into the stadium.

Leading out Great Britain was 2014 Winter Olympics gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold, with the skeleton athlete looking to retain her championship in Pyeongchang, and the British team were the 54th to arrive at the stadium – which cost nearly £80m to build and will only be used four times before it is torn down.

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, brought to you from the mountains of Pyeongchang.

Jack de Menezes9 February 2018 10:33

Lizzy Yarnold will fly the flag for Team GB in today's opening ceremony. Here's what she's had to say ahead of one of the proudest moments in her career:

"It's an honour that I never really thought about but it means so much.

"The flag represents the whole team and we, as a team, represent everyone in Great Britain.

"I didn't think about it too much because I knew that I wanted to go to the opening ceremony regardless of whether I was the flag-bearer or not. I wanted to be part of the team."

Quotes from BBC

Lizzy Yarnold is Team GB's flag-bearer 

Liam Corless9 February 2018 10:46

Liam Corless9 February 2018 10:53

The opening ceremony gets underway in five minutes' time!

Here's hoping it matches Sochi's impressive effort from 2014!

Liam Corless9 February 2018 10:56

The scene is set in Pyeongchang! 

Liam Corless9 February 2018 11:01

So, away we go! 

To start off we have a pretty impressive fireworks display that wouldn't look out of place at the London Eye on New Year's Eve.

Really bloody lovely.

Liam Corless9 February 2018 11:04

Now we've got a whole load of animals strolling around the stadium. Not real animals, obviously, but pantomime animals.

A tiger and a turtle are among those on show as well as a phoenix and a dragon. 

There's loads of music and loads of dancing too. It looks pretty fun, to be honest.

Liam Corless9 February 2018 11:11

The opening ceremony began with a lovely fireworks display 

Liam Corless9 February 2018 11:14

The ceremony's pace has picked up a little now. 

We've just had a stunning musical performance involving Janggu drums - a traditional instrument in Korean music - that ended with a huge South Korean flag being projected onto the ground.

Liam Corless9 February 2018 11:18

Performers entertain fans during the opening ceremony 

Liam Corless9 February 2018 11:20

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