Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Paralympics Closing Ceremony: Sweetest show ever?

Written by By Arianna Tabman, CNN With a 30-minute show that could easily have vanished off the screen after watching a few dramatic highlights, the Closing Ceremony of the PyeongChang Paralympics on March 10, 2018 (hence the title) surprised onlookers by reaching its peak just minutes into the show, when the athletes, dressed in their country’s colors, came together in one final, touching moment. It was all captured

on an instant mobile phone capture by one of the stagehands at the ice rink. The Performance’s Magic Moment In an electrifying moment shortly after the opening of the performance, athletes from 20 countries gathered in formation at the entrance to the arena. Evoking the camaraderie of a group of friends, they danced and sang their hearts out. Moments later, when all the stars were showing their faces and the snow-

flakes appeared on the screen, the show shifted to a more solemn tone. It is easy to forget that these athletes had endured some of the most arduous sports competitions imaginable to arrive at these Olympics. They were constrained to running with hands above their heads while wearing heavy blankets, injured to the point of having to use crutches, or confined to crutches themselves. They had to be carried from a

wheelchair; carried through entire distances by a live safety worker; and carried over uneven ice when bumping with one another. But this more sombre message did not have the negative impact it was intended to. Athletes marched behind a single archer, symbolizing their unwavering hope and a lot of hard work. Athletes from each of the 20 countries seen in the performance wore the numbers ‘F24’, with the words “F for

the 23rd” — 9,222 people — representing the number of athletes in PyeongChang, plus those competing in neutral zones. Controversial Opening Show The ceremony’s organizers had attracted controversy among PyeongChang spectators by using flags of neutral countries to carry the athletes’ names. This sparked confusion among spectators who thought their country would be represented. The PyeongChang Organizing Committee’s

president, Kim Jin-sun, later apologized for the mistake. The decision for a unified flag to carry the names of the athletes was made by the country’s special representatives during the race-day events. However, the opening ceremony has reignited international political tensions that had been felt after the return of two North Korean athletes to the Paralympics. The opening and closing ceremonies contained music by

the country’s two musical giants, Kim Yong-nam and Hyun-woo Hong, that brought many Koreans together. The Paralympics’ Opening Ceremony — Work in Progress But in a Twitter post, North Korean newspaper Rodong Sinmun described the PyeongChang Paralympics as “cherished events” that showed the positive change and “purity” of unification in a “peace-loving society.”

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