Nigeria made her presence felt during the colourful opening ceremony of the 2018 winter Olympics holding in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Nigerian contingent attracted a warm reception from the very enthusiastic Korean crowd who cheered as the West African nation announced its presence with colourful attires of white and green.
Nigeria’s team made up of Akuoma Omeogo, Seun Adigun (Bobsleigh) and Simidele Adeagbo (Skeleton) are expected to make the nation proud.
Nigeria, Greece, Ghana, and South Africa were among the first countries to emerge because the Korean alphabet, known as Hangeul, starts with a sound similar to a “g” in English, followed by a sound close to an “n”.
Olympic teams always enter after Greece, birthplace of the modern Games, and then in alphabetical order according to their names in the host nation’s language, which has usually been Roman script.
The biggest cheer of the opening ceremony was the emergence of the joint North/South Korean contingent, led by South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong and North Korean ice hockey player Hwang Chung-gum.
The emergence of the Korean team electrified the arena as fireworks hit the Pyeongchang night skies, much to the delight of the crowd that included the two Korean President – South Korean president Moon Jae-in, North Korean president Kim Yong-nam and his sister, Kim Yo-jong.
The joint procession brought to the fore the successful diplomatic efforts to ensure both countries overlook political and diplomatic differences after decades of being “Technically at War” since 1953.
Other high points of the event included calisthenic displays, cultural dances, and a performance tagged “PEACE IN MOTION,” which featured five children protagonists finishing their time travel and holding up a candle for peace in front of the world as John Lennon’s Imagine was performed by a group of musicians including Jeon In-kwon and Ha Hyun-woo.
The opening ceremony concluded with a final seven-minute segment called “Wish Fire.”
Unprecedented Fireworks accompanied the entrance of the nationally adored Korean pranksters – Dokkaebi.
The President of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach expressed delight that the Korean peninsula was attracting the world for the winter Olympics for the first time.
He urged all participants to at times show the true Olympic spirit of fair play, competitiveness and brotherhood.
“Over the next days, the world will be looking to you for inspiration. You will inspire us all to live together in peace and harmony despite all our differences. You will inspire us by competing for the highest honor in the Olympic spirit of excellence, respect and fair play,” he said.
“While you compete with each other, you live peacefully together in the Olympic Village, respecting the same rules, sharing your meals and your emotions with your fellow athletes. A great example of this unifying power is the joint march here tonight of the two teams from the National Olympic Committees of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We thank you.”
Over 90 countries are participating in this year’s winter Olympics.