Story highlightsSpectacular Opening Ceremony gets Winter Olympics under way Ceremony unites athletes from North and South Korea

(CNN)A giant dove of peace lit up the night sky, famous South Korean singers sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” and, most significantly of all, athletes from North and South Korea walked in unison for the first time in 11 years.

Even on a brutally cold February evening, there were moments aplenty to warm the heart during a Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony which had peace as its central theme. Like writing in a stick of rock, the message that mankind can live in harmony ran through every dance routine, song and dazzling light show.South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in described these Games as a “festival and celebration of peace,” and the competition’s curtain-raiser certainly set the tone.The show of unity was not lost on International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who said North and South Korea had set a “great example” for sending “a powerful message of peace.”Read MoreREAD: Olympics Opening Ceremony as it happenedJUST WATCHEDLindsey Vonn moved to tears at OlympicsReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH (21 Videos)Lindsey Vonn moved to tears at OlympicsMILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 06:  Shani Davis waves to the crowd following the Men's 1500 meter event during the Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on January 6, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 06:  Shani Davis waves to the crowd following the Men's 1500 meter event during the Long Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on January 6, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)Shani Davis skips Olympic opening ceremonyPYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09:  Flag bearer Pita Taufatofua of Tonga leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09:  Flag bearer Pita Taufatofua of Tonga leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Shirtless Tongan makes Olympic returnPYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09:  United States Vice President Vice President Mike Pence (front row, 2-R) watches the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics along with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (back row, 1-L), Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state (top row-L), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front row 1-R) and South Korean president Moon Jae-in (front row-L) on February 9, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09:  United States Vice President Vice President Mike Pence (front row, 2-R) watches the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics along with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (back row, 1-L), Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state (top row-L), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front row 1-R) and South Korean president Moon Jae-in (front row-L) on February 9, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Pence sits near Kim Jong Un’s sister at GamesLAKE PLACID, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  Adam Rippon of the United States cradles his arm after competing in the Men's Free Skating during day two of 2017 Bridgestone Skate America at Herb Brooks Arena on November 25, 2017 in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)LAKE PLACID, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  Adam Rippon of the United States cradles his arm after competing in the Men's Free Skating during day two of 2017 Bridgestone Skate America at Herb Brooks Arena on November 25, 2017 in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)How Adam Rippon plans to win goldPAJU, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 07:  North Korean cheering squads wave upon arriving at the Korean-transit office near the Demilitarized Zone on February 7, 2018 in Paju, South Korea. A North Korean delegation, including members of a state-trained cheering group, arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.   (Photo by Ahn Young-joon-Pool/Getty Images)PAJU, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 07:  North Korean cheering squads wave upon arriving at the Korean-transit office near the Demilitarized Zone on February 7, 2018 in Paju, South Korea. A North Korean delegation, including members of a state-trained cheering group, arrived in South Korea on Wednesday for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.   (Photo by Ahn Young-joon-Pool/Getty Images)Who’s who in North Korea’s Olympic delegationSOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 20: Gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser #22 of Canada celebrates after defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 20: Gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser #22 of Canada celebrates after defeating the United States 3-2 in overtime during the Ice Hockey Women's Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)Olympic legend questions united Korea hockeyPYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 26: Mark Mcmorris of Canada takes 1st place during Mens BA Finals the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2016/17 at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on November 26, 2016 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 26: Mark Mcmorris of Canada takes 1st place during Mens BA Finals the FIS Snowboard World Cup 2016/17 at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center on November 26, 2016 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.  (Photo by Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images)Mark McMorris: From injury to Olympics hopefulINCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 04:  South Korean peace activists carry the Flag of Korean Peninsula before the Women's Ice Hockey friendly match at Seonhak International Ice Rink on February 4, 2018 in Incheon, South Korea. The friendly match is held ahead of the Olympic Games where South and North Korea competes for the first time as a unified team in a sport at the Olympic Games.  (Photo by Woohae Cho/Getty Images)INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 04:  South Korean peace activists carry the Flag of Korean Peninsula before the Women's Ice Hockey friendly match at Seonhak International Ice Rink on February 4, 2018 in Incheon, South Korea. The friendly match is held ahead of the Olympic Games where South and North Korea competes for the first time as a unified team in a sport at the Olympic Games.  (Photo by Woohae Cho/Getty Images)The Koreas: Divided by war, united by a flag?SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 04:  Adam Rippon competes in the Men's Short Program during the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center on January 4, 2018 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 04:  Adam Rippon competes in the Men's Short Program during the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center on January 4, 2018 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)Mom of gay US Olympian speaks out against PenceSir Craig Reedie, President of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) speaks at a media symposium at Lord's cricket ground in London on June 20, 2016. Craig Reedie, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, indicated today he would be prepared to back "precedent-setting action" against Russia following suggestions the country's entire team could be banned from August's Olympic Games in Rio. / AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)Sir Craig Reedie, President of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) speaks at a media symposium at Lord's cricket ground in London on June 20, 2016. Craig Reedie, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, indicated today he would be prepared to back "precedent-setting action" against Russia following suggestions the country's entire team could be banned from August's Olympic Games in Rio. / AFP / ADRIAN DENNIS        (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)Winter Olympics: WADA chief Reedie on Russiaolympics security virtual explainer tom foreman _00003722.jpgolympics security virtual explainer tom foreman _00003722.jpgSecurity and the 2018 OlympicsMaame Biney Speed Skater Winter Olympics 2018 orig mg_00022623.jpgMaame Biney Speed Skater Winter Olympics 2018 orig mg_00022623.jpgUS Skater breaking barriers, chasing goldBAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 12: Lindsey Vonn of USA in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill Training on January 12, 2018 in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)BAD KLEINKIRCHHEIM, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 12: Lindsey Vonn of USA in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill Training on January 12, 2018 in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)Lindsey Vonn overcomes grief to reach OlympicsFirst-placed US' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the finish area after crossing the finish line for the first run of the FIS World Cup Ladies Slalom race in Kranjska Gora, on January 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jure Makovec        (Photo credit should read JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty Images)First-placed US' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the finish area after crossing the finish line for the first run of the FIS World Cup Ladies Slalom race in Kranjska Gora, on January 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jure Makovec        (Photo credit should read JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty Images)Mikaela Shiffrin: I’m chasing the worldUS Nathan Chen performs his routine in the men's short program at the Rostelecom Cup 2017 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Moscow on October 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV        (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)US Nathan Chen performs his routine in the men's short program at the Rostelecom Cup 2017 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Moscow on October 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV        (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)Nathan Chen finds freedom on the iceSAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 05:  Bradie Tennell competes in the Ladies Free Skate during the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center on January 5, 2018 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 05:  Bradie Tennell competes in the Ladies Free Skate during the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the SAP Center on January 5, 2018 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)Bradie Tennell defeats injuries before OlympicsSisters compete in Olympics for 2 countriesrolf sachs lives olympic stadium st moritz alpine edge orig_00010713.jpgrolf sachs lives olympic stadium st moritz alpine edge orig_00010713.jpgThe man who lives in an Olympic stadiumATHENS, GREECE - JULY 31: General view of the Beach Volleyball Olympic Stadium at Faliro Olympic Complex in Athens, Greece on July 31, 2014. Ten years ago the XXVIII Olympiad was held in Athens from the 13th - 29th August with the motto "Welcome Home". The cost of hosting the games was estimated to be approx 9 billion euros with the majority of sporting venues built specifically for the games. Due to Greece's economic frailties post Olympic Games there has been no further investment and the majority of the newly constructed stadiums now lie abandoned. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)ATHENS, GREECE - JULY 31: General view of the Beach Volleyball Olympic Stadium at Faliro Olympic Complex in Athens, Greece on July 31, 2014. Ten years ago the XXVIII Olympiad was held in Athens from the 13th - 29th August with the motto "Welcome Home". The cost of hosting the games was estimated to be approx 9 billion euros with the majority of sporting venues built specifically for the games. Due to Greece's economic frailties post Olympic Games there has been no further investment and the majority of the newly constructed stadiums now lie abandoned. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)What happens to host cities when the Olympics are over?From a war zone to the Winter Olympics?The lead up to these Winter Olympics has been dominated by relations between two nations still technically at war. After a year of escalating hostility over Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program, this Olympics has given the two countries reason to talk again. No matter how affecting the message of the host nation’s first night, it would be fanciful to think that a sporting occasion such as this can bring about a truce between a Korea divided since 1953, but it was an evening filled with symbolic moments.As the Korean athletes marched together, President Moon shook hands with Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. She is the first member of Pyongyang’s ruling dynasty to set foot in the rival country since the war.To add to the political intrigue, US Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same VIP booth, looked stony faced as the ceremony unfolded.READ: Downhill daredevils — how to conquer skiing’s toughest eventWho's who in North Korea's Olympic delegationWho's who in North Korea's Olympic delegationWho's who in North Korea's Olympic delegationJUST WATCHEDWho’s who in North Korea’s Olympic delegationReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH

Who’s who in North Korea’s Olympic delegation 01:07There were also selfies between North and South Koeran athletes as they waited to walk into the heart of the stadium.And when the Koreans emerged — North Korea ice hockey player Chung Gum Hwang and South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong both held the flag of a unified Korean peninsula — they were greeted to an ovation from 35,000 cheering spectators. Though this is not the first time athletes from the two countries have entered the Olympics together, it would take an extraordinary sporting feat to usurp the Koreans’ march as the predominant moment of these Games. Indeed, the sporting spectacle that is to come has been overshadowed by this year’s apparent rapprochement. Only a few months ago there were justifiable fears over whether Pyeongchang, roughly 40 kilometers from the border, could host these Games because of the North’s nuclear proliferation. The political road ahead is a long and complicated one, as protests in the region during the ceremony testify, but inside the Olympic Stadium the sentiment was largely of hope. Titled “Peace in Motion,” the ceremony began with a countdown, the ringing of a nine-meter-high “Bell of Peace.” Five children then appeared, taking the audience on a journey to the past, present and future. A white tiger, the Games’ mascot Soohorang, long considered a protective guardian in Korean history and culture, guided the children to a cove where they were then transported to an ancient land.READ: Winter Olympics sport-by-sport guideFor TV viewers, augmented reality created a spectacular dome of constellations and stars above the performers before traditional Korean kites were then flown, a mural of the Four Guardians (symbols of ancient Koreans’ hope for peace) was formed and 48 traditional dancers performed. Next came the spirituous thumping of drums — 371 men and women beating Jangoos. Audience participation was encouraged — spectators were given a small drum called a sogo — which was perhaps a wise move given that the temperature dropped to a teeth-rattling -6C during the two-hour outdoor ceremony.The CNN ENG-KOR PyeongChang 2018 dictionaryThe CNN ENG-KOR PyeongChang 2018 dictionaryThe CNN ENG-KOR PyeongChang 2018 dictionaryJUST WATCHEDThe CNN ENG-KOR PyeongChang 2018 dictionaryReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH

The CNN ENG-KOR PyeongChang 2018 dictionary 02:19As well as diplomacy, the weather has been one of the other dominant topics in the build-up to an Olympics which is expected to be the coldest in more than 20 years.The 1994 Games in Lillehammer, where temperatures plunged to -2.7C (27F), holds the record, but the mercury is not expected to creep above zero during the first few days of competition in South Korea. While spectators wrapped themselves in the blankets provided and eked every bit of warmth from the multiple heat packs also provided, some athletes appeared to not feel the chill. Tonga's Pita Taufatofua repeated his topless flag-bearing from Rio 2016.Tonga's Pita Taufatofua repeated his topless flag-bearing from Rio 2016.Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua repeated his topless flag-bearing from Rio 2016.Notably one-man Tongan team Pita Taufatofua, a cross-country skier who also competed in taekwondo at the 2016 Summer Games, caused a stir as he entered the stadium topless, just as he did in Rio, while Bermuda’s athletes wore traditional shorts during the parade. READ: Tonga’s famous flag bearer achieves ‘impossible dream’ This will be the largest Winter Games in history, with 2,800 athletes due to compete in a record 102 events, but even during the parade of nations it was not always about the competitors, as the focus of some spectators turned to President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un impersonators. Both were quickly ushered from the stands. Everyone’s attention quickly returned to the center of the pentagon-shaped stadium, which will be demolished after these Games. A 77-year-old man, the oldest performer at the ceremony, sang Arirang, a traditional Korean folk song considered the unofficial anthem of Korea. As the time-traveling children returned to the present, having learnt a new secret to peace, a giant dove of peace was formed and singers sang Lennon’s famous ode. On any other occasion, it may have been considered schmaltzy, but performed in a country still at war the performance resonated. Kim Yo Jong and US Vice President Mike PenceKim Yo Jong and US Vice President Mike Pence Photos: Hide Caption 1 of 5Pita Taufatofua sketchPita Taufatofua sketch Photos: Hide Caption 2 of 5Gangnam Style sketchGangnam Style sketch Photos: Hide Caption 3 of 5shani davis sketchshani davis sketch Photos: Hide Caption 4 of 5peace sketchpeace sketch Photos: Hide Caption 5 of 5Kim Yo Jong and US Vice President Mike PencePita Taufatofua sketchGangnam Style sketchshani davis sketchpeace sketchREAD: From one-room home in Ghana to Winter OlympicsThe evening concluded as every Olympic ceremony does, with the lighting of the flame and a spectacular firework display — 20,000 fireworks were used during the ceremony. Two members of the joint Korean hockey team carried the Olympic Torch up a steep flight of stairs, and spectators gasped in unison when they realized the torch would be given to 2010 Olympic figure skating champion Yuna Kim to light the flame.Let the Games begin.

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