Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Picture: Florien Choblet/Getty Images
Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Picture: Florien Choblet/Getty Images

‘Historic’ Winter Olympics ends in style

THE PyeongChang Olympics were hailed as the "Games of new horizons" as the curtain came down on the biggest Winter Games in history on Sunday night.

Declaring the Games closed, International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said the Olympics had been opened up to new athletes, countries, events and technologies.

"Therefore I can truly say: the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are the Games of new horizons," he said.

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games were officially closed. Picture: AFP/ François-Xavier Marit
The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games were officially closed. Picture: AFP/ François-Xavier Marit

"We are embracing these new horizons. We offer our hand to everybody to join forces in this faith in the future."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L), South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook and Ivanka Trump at the closing ceremony. Picture: AFP/Patrick Semansky
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L), South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook and Ivanka Trump at the closing ceremony. Picture: AFP/Patrick Semansky

The closing ceremony held before tens of thousands on the eastern end of the Korean Peninsula. As part of the ceremony, the Winter Games were "handed off" to Beijing, which will host them in 2022 after staging the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Ivanka Trump attended, sitting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jung-sook.

Fireworks light up the night sky outside the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Picture: AFP/Christof Stache
Fireworks light up the night sky outside the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Picture: AFP/Christof Stache

These games were punctuated by unexpected diplomacy between the two estranged Koreas, North and South, that resulted in their fielding a joint Olympic team - a diplomatic accomplishment that could signal an enduring thaw between the rivals.

President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach hailed the “historic” Games. Picture: Dan Istitene/Getty Images
President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach hailed the “historic” Games. Picture: Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Officials from both North Korea and the United States, which wants the North to give up its nuclear weapons, attended both the closing and opening. During the closing, the South Korean president's office announced that a North Korean delegate had said Pyongyang is willing to hold talks with the US.

The Games has been a huge success. Picture: AFP/Loic Venance
The Games has been a huge success. Picture: AFP/Loic Venance

Earlier, Mr Bach handed off the Olympic flag to the mayor of Beijing, Chen Jining, symbolising the Winter Games' journey over the next four years from PyeongChang, South Korea, to the Chinese capital in 2022. Beijing will be the first city to host both the summer and winter games. It hosted the summer edition in 2008.

South Korean boy band EXO perform during the closing ceremony. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
South Korean boy band EXO perform during the closing ceremony. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The handover of the Olympic flag from one host city to the next was followed by a hi-tech lightshow where illuminated giant pandas and dancers skated around the Olympic Stadium.

It comes as American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy questioned what Ivanka Trump was doing at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Games.

The flame is put out during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Picture: AFP/François-Xavier Marit
The flame is put out during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Picture: AFP/François-Xavier Marit

Kenworthy tweeted a photo of his teammates Sunday and said: "So proud of all these people! Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well ... Everyone except Ivanka."

Tonga's Pita Taufatofua was again a crowd favourite. Picture: AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand
Tonga's Pita Taufatofua was again a crowd favourite. Picture: AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand

He then used an abbreviated profanity in asking why she was there. The elder daughter of US President Donald Trump watched the closing ceremony in the same box as South Korean President Moon Jae-In and top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol.

Performers lit up the stadium. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Performers lit up the stadium. Picture: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

She has said the purpose of her visit is to advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Kenworthy earlier made headlines when he shared a televised kiss with his boyfriend after his Olympic run.

Games’ mascots farewelled the crowd. Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images
Games’ mascots farewelled the crowd. Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images


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