Athletes march in Olympic opening ceremony


Fireworks during the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Friday

The Yomiuri ShimbunPYEONGCHANG — The opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics was held Friday at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.

The participants marched in order of the Korean alphabet, hangul, headed by the Greek team, with Japan, led by Noriaki Kasai as the flag bearer, the 62nd country after India.

The Olympic torch relay was held in Pyeongchang earlier in the day. About 2,900 athletes from 92 countries and regions are participating in the Winter Games — the largest number ever. They are competing in 102 events across seven sports until Feb. 25.

North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics was hastily decided — with North and South Korea forming a joint women’s ice hockey team, playing as “Korea” for the first time in Olympic history.

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    Performers take part in the opening ceremony

Russian athletes are participating in the Games but are not representing their country due to systemic doping violations.

In addition to the opening and closing ceremonies, skiing and skeleton events are scheduled to be held in the mountainous Pyeongchang region, whereas ice sports will be held in Gangneung, a city facing the Sea of Japan.

Japan’s squad has 269 members, of whom 124 are athletes. This is Japan’s largest number of competitors to date at an overseas Winter Olympics.Speech

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