Let the ceremony begin.
The 2018 Winter Games opening ceremony has begun. There are several unusual things about the site for the ceremony, Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. First off, it’s small. Seating 35,000, it is dwarfed by the likes of the Maracana (78,000) which played host in 2016. Second, it’s just for the ceremony, not any athletic events. Third, it’s temporary. It will be demolished after the Games. And lastly it is an unusual shape, a pentagon. Look for some other “5” symbolism in tonight’s show.
It’s cold, but everybody’s prepared.
The forecasts were true: It’s pretty cold here.
Temperatures dipped to around 28 degrees as fans started to enter the stadium an hour before the ceremony, and steady winds made it feel far chillier than that.
Reports emerged during the week that scores of spectators attending a rehearsal last Saturday ended up leaving early because of the extreme cold. But several fans outside the stadium on Friday declared themselves ready to face the chill.
“I’m from Buffalo,” said Mary Salvador, who had traveled from New York to join a group of Korean adoptees from around the United States. Moment earlier, she had pulled on a pair of dark ski pants. Pulling hand warmers from her pocket, she added, “You need these. We’ve been using these all week.”
The ceremonies at the previous two Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia and Vancouver, British Columbia were indoors, and cold temperatures were not an issue at those Games, anyway.
Organizers here were proactive addressing the weather. Each attendee at the stadium received a package that included hand and foot warmers, a wool hat, a poncho, a blanket and a heated seat cushion.
“Just wear layers and layers to protect yourself from the wind,” said Lauri Leppanen, 38, who was visiting from Turku, Finland, with his partner, Sanna Saarinen, 35. “I’m wearing merino wool, which is pretty cozy.”