The Winter Olympics has ended in true South Korean style, complete with a 13-year-old guitarist shredding to classical music, a confusing attempt at American-style hip-hop, and frequent cameos from Ivanka Trump.
Early in the ceremony, a precocious 13-year-old South Korean girl emerged with an electric guitar to strum a rendition of ‘Winter’ from Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’.
She was accompanied by an orchestra playing traditional Korean instruments, as well as a modern rock band – an impressive, if somewhat jarring, meld of genres.
Things got weirder when famous South Korean pop star CL rapped her hit ‘The Baddest Female’ in her best impression of a black American hop-hop artist.
To clear up any confusion, she helpfully told the audience at the beginning of the song that she was dedicating it to, “All my bad girls around the world, not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good.” Phew.
The live broadcast from Channel 7 had plenty of shots of Ivanka Trump because of her prime position next to South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook.
Ms Trump was at the ceremony representing the USA in place of her father, President Donald Trump. It seems that family is inescapable, even at the Games.
She was seated in front of the controversial Kim Yong Chol, vice-chair of North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party Central Committee – whose presence was greeted by protestors outside the venue because of his alleged involvement in two attacks that killed South Koreans in 2010. Ms Trump did not appear to interact with him during the ceremony.
However, not everyone was pleased with Ms Trump’s attendance, with American skier Gus Kenworthy delivering a parting shot to the first daughter.
So proud of all these people! Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony! Well… Everyone except Ivanka. Honestly, tf is she doing here?? pic.twitter.com/sfJKi0VTDb
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 25, 2018
The quirky performances inserted plenty of Korean flavour into a Winter Games that has been widely hailed a success.
Flagbearers from the competing nations, including Australian silver medallist Jarryd Hughes, were the first athletes to enter Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, before their teammates took centre stage as part of the traditional parade.
Athletes from South and North Korea marched together, as they did in the opening ceremony.
Tongan flagbearer Pita Taufatofua once again stole the show, braving the freezing temperatures to appear shirtless in his traditional national dress and posing for photos with several well-known athletes.
— Matt Maisel (@Matt_Maisel) February 25, 2018
As well as the K-pop extravaganza, the traditional components of closing ceremonies were also observed, such as the handing over of the Olympic flag to the 2022 host city Beijing and singing of the official anthem.
Beijing, showed off what we have in store at the next Games, with the help of some illuminated, roller-disco flying pandas.
Skiing pandas…. 🐼 This can only mean one thing. It’s time for #Beijing2022 to take the flag.
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) February 25, 2018
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach thanked South Korea for “showing us new horizons” as he declared the Games closed, while reserving a heartfelt congratulations for the thousands of volunteers.
“I say a special thank you for warming our hearts event at the coldest temperatures,” Mr Bach said.
He also paid tribute to the athletes saying they were an example to the world.
“You have shown how sport brings people together in our fragile world; you have shown how sport builds bridges,” he said.
“The IOC will continue this Olympic dialogue, even after we extinguish the Olympic flame. In this, we are driven by our faith in the future.”
Australia finished 23rd on the medal tally, with the two silvers won by Hughes (snowboard cross) and Matt Graham (moguls), and Scotty James’ bronze in the snowboard halfpipe.
Norway led the tally with 14 gold and silver medals, as well as 11 bronze.
Germany matched the Norwegians with 14 gold, while host nation South Korea topped the podium on five occasions as part of a 17-medal haul.
-With ABC and AAP