The 2018 Winter Olympics officially ended today, Sunday February 25, with the closing ceremony taking place in the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.
South Korea ended things in spectacular fashion, with winter sports athletes dancing and singing together at a vibrant closing ceremony.
The ceremony even showcased cutting-edge South Korean technology including a remarkable drone show which dotted out the image of the Games mascot Soohorang – a white tiger – in the night sky.
However it was K-pop group EXO who stole the show.
EXO – South Korea’s boyband sensation – are said to have been chosen to perform at the ceremony by fans, not only because of their current popularity, but in part because of the unity they have represented in the region.
Led out by several turbocharged jeeps and backed up by more than 30 dancers, the group performed on a platform surrounded by swirling lights, singing their arguably two biggest hits, ‘Growl’ and ‘Power’.
EXO were formed with 12 South Korean and Chinese members, but in a move unfamiliar to western pop groups, the band sometimes breaks down into two sub-groups, the Korean-language EXO-K, and the Mandarin-speaking EXO-M, who are more active in China, reports The Guardian.
EXO’s singles are released in both Korean and Chinese-language versions.
One of the band’s leading members, Suho (pictured above), expected the occasion to be emotional and previously said:
Watching opening and closing ceremonies in other countries, I thought it’s really incredible to go on that stage.
Now EXO is doing so, it’s a new feeling. I think tears might fall after we complete our performance.
The band’s achievements have placed them in the higher regions of South Korean pop history, having sold more than 8m albums and have picked up in excess of 100 music awards.
Check out the video below of the closing ceremony:
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Like a lot of successful K-Pop artists, EXO have a huge following on social media.
In the build up to the Olympic Games, fans even warned one other from using the official Olympic hashtag, for fear they’d end up dominating the channel and drown out news about the actual sports.
One user on Twitter suggested the following idea:
guys I really don’t think using the official Olympics hashtag is a good idea, people use that to get results for all the game & right now its drowned in EXO related posts.
Maybe just use #ClosingCeremony & #EXOlympics ?? [sic]
guys i really dont think using the official Olympics hashtag is a good idea, people use that to get results for all the game & right now its drowned in EXO related posts. Maybe just use #ClosingCeremony & #EXOlympics ??
— #Olympics_EXO ? (@jamiletchankai) February 9, 2018
Despite the joyful and celebratory scenes, there was one incident which was notable for viewers across the world.
The Russian flag was nowhere to be seen after the IOC decided not to lift the suspension on their country.
It was a bitter-sweet day for Russian athletes – after savouring the high of winning a nail-biting men’s ice hockey final on Sunday, they then had to march without their flag.
Russians were forced to compete as neutral athletes at Pyeongchang – an IOC punishment for years of drug scandals involving allegations Russia ran a systematic, state-backed drug-cheating programme.
According to Business Insider, the unique Olympic stadium – with a pentagon shape – was built solely for the Olympics.
As a result, it’ll be torn down after the upcoming Paralympic games because it’s said to be cheaper than paying to maintain the stadium.
Roll on Tokyo 2020 – can’t wait to see how they try and beat this years show!