IOC lauds handshake between South Korea premier Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister

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Moon Jae-in greets the North Korean leader's sister.

The handshake between the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in was highlighted as Games organisers reflected on the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Kim Yo-jong had become the first member of the ruling Pyongyang family to set foot in the south since the end of the Korean War so her greeting with Moon Jae-in was seen as symbolic.

“It was a great moment,” said International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams during the first daily briefing of the Games.

“It opens the door and helps build bridges. The Olympic Games is a symbol of how things might be in the world.”

The North and South Korean teams marched side-by-side under a unified flag during the athletes’ parade section of the ceremony which ended with Korean skating superstar Kim Yu-Na, Olympic champion in Vancouver in 2010, lighting the Olympic flame to get the Games underway after being handed the torch at the top of an ice chute.

“As an athlete myself it was a great honour for me to be the last torch bearer,” she said.

South Korean figure skating queen Kim Yuna lit the Olympic flame.

South Korean figure skating queen Kim Yuna lit the Olympic flame.

“It has been a few years since I retired from skating but I was able to skate for a bit before lighting the cauldron and it was an unforgettable moment.”

Song Senung Hwan, executive creative director for the opening ceremony, said he had been able to make this most of his budget which was KRW60 billion (£40million).

“We had to create a ceremony on a limited budget with maximum impact. We started with a low budget but we were able to convey all our messages. I wanted to show that South Korea is a small but strong country.”

POCOG spokesman Sung Baik You was asked about a possible cyber attack on Friday night after some problems with technology. Televisions in the Main Press Centre were affected during the opening ceremony.

He said: “There were some issues which impacted some of our non critical systems for a few hours. We are investigating the cause and checking all systems. At the moment we cannot confirm the cause.”

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South Korea's Kim Yuna emotional after 'surreal' experience of lighting the Pyeongchang Olympic cauldron

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Kim gets ready to light up the Olympic cauldron on Friday evening.

South Korea’s figure skating queen Kim Yuna said Saturday that the experience of lighting the Pyeongchang Olympic cauldron was ’emotional’ and admitted she had been scared of dropping the torch.

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 performed a brief routine before lighting up the cauldron.

Kim performed a brief routine before lighting up the cauldron.

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.”

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Winter Olympics: Banned Russians withdraw last-minute Swiss appeal

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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.

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