Kim, who captured gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and controversially took silver in Sochi four years later, performed a brief skate routine at Friday’s opening ceremony before receiving the torch and sending flames shooting up to the cauldron.
“I skated for 10 years but that was the first time I’ve skated so high up,” the 27-year-old told reporters.
“When you’re on the ice competing you don’t really see the crowd. You’re just thinking about not falling, you just focus on your skating.
“But that was the first time I’ve done anything in front of so many people. When I lit the flame it was a little surreal. I felt sort of numb with emotion.”
Kim, a national idol in South Korea, took the flame from two members of the joint Korean women’s hockey team – Chung Su Hyon of North Korea and Park Jong-ah of South Korea at the top of a flight of 120 stairs.
Kim revealed that the torch handover had not been rehearsed.
“I was worried there might be some problem,” she said. “When my eyes met the North Korean athlete’s I just smiled. But I was nervous. When you’re competing you can go back and make up for mistakes.
“But you only have one chance to light the Olympic flame and the whole world is watching. It all happened so quickly, it was kind of surreal.”
Dozens of Russian athletes banned from the Pyeongchang Winter olympics withdrew on Friday their last-minute appeal to a Swiss court aimed at allowing them to compete in the Games.
Earlier, 47 Russians implicated in doping lost a final appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which sought to overturn the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar them from competition.
The IOC is based in the Swiss city of Lausanne, where a local court may have offered the Russians a final chance to force the IOC’s hand.
The Russians had an emergency hearing scheduled in Lausanne for 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), two hours after the opening ceremonies kicked off in South Korea.
“The motion for interim measures has been withdrawn and therefore this afternoon’s hearing is cancelled,” the Tribunal d’arrondissement de Lausanne said in a statement said to AFP.
The court gave no reason for the Russian withdrawal.
It was not clear whether the Swiss court would have been able to rule on the issue in time to give any of the Russian athletes a chance to compete in Pyeongchang.
The Russian situation has proved highly contentious in the build-up to Pyeongchang, after their team was banned. But 168 “clean” Russian athletes have been allowed to take part as neutrals.
Russia’s suspension in December follows the uncovering of systemic doping that reached its peak at the Sochi 2014 Winter olympics, where host nation Russia topped the medals table.
Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik has cut short his visit to the Winter olympics in Pyeongchang to return home to his sick father, Prince Henrik, whose health has deteriorated, the palace said Friday.
Henrik, the 83-year-old French-born husband of Queen Margrethe, was hospitalised in Copenhagen in late January for a pulmonary infection and a benign tumour in his left lung.
“His Royal Highness Prince Henrik’s condition has unfortunately seriously deteriorated,” the palace said in a statement, adding that the crown prince, 49, “is now on his way back to Denmark.”
Prince Henrik was diagnosed in September 2017 with dementia.
The palace never disclosed further details, saying simply that his illness “involves a deterioration of cognitive abilities”.
Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 near Bordeaux, he married Margrethe, then crown princess, in 1967.
Henrik, who retired from public service in January 2016, has often spoken out about his frustration that his royal title of prince was never changed to king when his wife became queen in 1972.
Last year, he announced that he did not want to be buried next to his wife because he was never made her equal in life, thereby breaking with the tradition of burying royal spouses together in Roskilde Cathedral west of Copenhagen.
The royal couple also have another son, Prince Joachim, who is 48.