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Winter Olympics 2018: Bach hails Pyeongchang as 'Games of New Horizons'

By Peter Thompson

Pyeongchang, February 25: Thomas Bach described the 2018 Winter Olympics as "the Games of New Horizons" at an elaborate closing ceremony in Pyeongchang on Sunday (February 25).

There was razzmatazz in the Olympic Stadium following 17 days of intense competition in South Korea.

Cross-country skiing legend Marit Bjoergen - the most decorated athlete in Winter Olympics history - was presented with her gold medal a matter of hours after winning the 30-kilometre mass start classic event.

It was the eighth time Bjoergen topped the podium in the Winter Games, matching the record set by compatriots Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Bjorn Daehlie and ensuring Norway finished top of the medal table with 14 golds and 39 in total.

South Korean boyband sensation EXO performed and there were fireworks aplenty, but no Russia flag flying at a ceremony held after members of the victorious men's Olympic Athletes from Russia ice hockey team sung the banned national anthem following a golden-goal win over Germany.

International Olympic Committee president Bach declared the Games a huge success in his closing speech following a handover for the 2022 Beijing Games.

He said: "I can truly say: the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 are the Games of New Horizons.

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

"Dear athletes, you are the best ambassadors of our optimism. Thank you for sharing it with us. Thank you for your competitive spirit. Thank you for your fair play."

Pyeongchang Organising Committee president Lee Hee-Beom said he hopes the Games have gone a long way to easing tensions between North and South Korea.

"In particular, the athletes from South and North Korea built friendship, and it showcased much bigger possibilities beyond sport." he stated.

"When marching together, and even competing together as a unified Korean team, it constituted a strong identity of one single nation.

"The world paid its high tribute of admiration for the athletes of South and North Korea who marched and competed together during the Games. And the spectators in the stands shouted: 'We are one'.

"The seed of peace you have planted here in Pyeongchang will grow as a big tree in the not-distant future. The hope and aspirations of South and North Korean athletes together with cheerleaders will definitely serve as a cornerstone of the unification of the Korean Peninsula."

Source: OPTA

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Story first published: Sunday, February 25, 2018, 21:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 25, 2018
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