The 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea, pulled in fewer viewers than 2014’s in Sochi.


Currently, the Korean opener stands as the 11th highest-rated non-U.S. Olympic opening ceremony, and was down 12% from Sochi. Still, it pulled in a higher turnout than the Rio summer Olympic games in 2016. This year, the opener featured 1,200 pre-recorded drones, which used lighting to morph from event logo to event logo, and finally into the Olympic rings.

The #WinterOlympics are underway in PyeongChang! 📸: @nbcolympics

A post shared by NBC (@nbc) on

Gorgeous! #OpeningCeremony #Pyeongchang2018 #Olympics 📸IOC/Huet

A post shared by The Olympic Games (@olympics) on

Katie Couric and Mike Tirico helmed the ceremony for NBC, and they frequently reminded viewers of the historic moment that this Olympics aimed to be: “The global gathering that is the Olympic Games seems to always come at a pivotal moment,” Tirico said. “The global flashpoint of North Korea is just 60 miles away, and yet the power of sport has bridged that gap.”

The ceremony was titled “Peace in Motion,” and was presented as a “winter fairy tale,” according to event producer Yang Jung-woong last month. It began as a short film featuring five youngsters in an ice cave who come across a white tiger, the mascot of the 2018 Winter Games. Soon phoenixes, elk, bears and horses joined the tiger and children in a fluid dance routine.

The next hour or so was spent introducing each country – in alphabetical order according to the Korean translation. K-Pop music played throughout the marching, including 2012’s popular “Gangnam Style” by Psy. Of course the moment everyone was waiting for was for Tonga to come out with their star athlete Pita Taufatofua, who again appeared shirtless and oiled up despite the freezing temperatures. “I wasn’t cold at all,” he later told the Today show. “When you come from Polynesia, the warmth comes from inside-out, not outside-in.”

The nation parade ended with North and South Korea emerging as a unified team, which marks an important moment in politics. Just before the torch was lit by beloved South Korea figure skater Yuna Kim, five guides with lights representing the 2016 South Korea presidential protests came out alongside four famed South Korean singers who sang John Lenin’s “Imagine.”

Read more about: