The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics showcased a dazzling display of lights, music and dancing, but the overarching message was one of peace and global unity.
Roughly 35,000 spectators looked on at the choreographed spectacle, which included feature performances by traditionally-dressed dancers and drummers, as well as a showcase of the South Korea’s achievements in artificial intelligence and technology and the Parade of Nations.
But more than the light show, fireworks display and captivating sounds was the apparent unity of North Korea and South Korea, two nations who technically remain at war.
For the Games, North Korea accepted the host country's invitation to compete as a single unified team, Korea, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the Pyeongchang events the "peace Olympics" for bringing the feuding lands together.
Viewers applauded the display of unity during the opening ceremony, when both Korean countries walked together during the traditional Parade of Nations.
"The Opening Ceremony for the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang was awesome and digitally detailed," one user wrote. "Most touching part was when the combined athletes of both North and South Korea walked in to raise their flag."
"Huge cheers in the stadium at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony when the Korean team - simply called 'Korea' in French, English and Korean - entered," another viewer wrote.
The Opening Ceremony for the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeonchang was awesome and digitally detailed.— connie_V (@jazzme1130) February 9, 2018
Most touching part was when the combined athletes of both North and South Korea walked in to raise their flag.👏👏👏👌✌️🔦
Good luck to all athletes!!! pic.twitter.com/PHE3verfLu
Huge cheers in the stadium at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics opening ceremony when the unified Korean team - simply called “Korea” in French, English and Korean - entered pic.twitter.com/FHZRz1S4V7— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) February 9, 2018
During the ceremony, the President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach also addressed the crowd to deliver a "strong message of peace, unity in the face of diversity and cleanliness," a viewer recalled, which "made the hairs on my arm stand up."
The speech by the President of the International Olympic Committee at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyong Chang was amazing, made the hairs on my arm stand up.February 9, 2018
Political themes aside, the opening ceremony also paid homage to a long-standing symbol of the Games, the Olympic rings. In a spectacular fashion, 1,218 drones were choreographed to form a snowboarder, then they morphed to display the iconic five-ring image.
"Thank you #SouthKorea for putting on a fantastic #Opening Ceremony it was amazing," a satisfied viewer wrote of the ceremony, which marks the beginning of the two-week competition between athletes representing 91 countries.
Coverage of the opening ceremony will be broadcast on NBC on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Getty / Amin Mohammad Jamali