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Sights and Sounds: The 2018 PyeongChang Opening Ceremony

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Let the games begin! The Opening Ceremony for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games — titled “Peace in Motion” — went down early Friday morning on the other side of the world in PyeongChang, South Korea.

WATCH IN PRIMETIME ON NBC TONIGHT!

Watch on TV: 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC
Watch online: Stream here

And it went off without a hitch. Don’t miss the Opening Ceremony’s primetime airing tonight at 8pm ET on NBC and streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.

WATCH: Top moments from 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

PEACE IN MOTION

The gallantry leading up to the Parade of Nations followed the whimsical time-traveling adventure of five children surrounded by hundreds of performers and cultural iconography.

“The opening ceremony will weave together the narratives of five lovable protagonists from Gangwon province through cultural performances,” executive producer of the Opening Ceremony Yang Jung-woong said in January. “The stage will unfold like a winter fairytale depicting the children’s adventure.”

UNITY

As hosts, South Korea’s athletes entered the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium last. They were joined by representatives from North Korea as all compatriots punctuated the Parade of Nations by entering together under the Unification Flag, which was carried by an athlete from each country.

A moment was captured in which South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim Yo-jong was later granted the honor of officially announcing the start of the 2018 Olympic Games.

USA GARB

Athletes from the United States marched in the Parade of Nations with a red, white and blue fit by Ralph Lauren sporting classic sweaters and large parkas to go along with tassled nubuck gloves.

TA’OVALA-ING TAUFATOFUA

For the second Olympic Opening Ceremony in a row, Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua stole the show.

Tonga’s lone representative created quite a stir at the 2016 Rio Games when he carried the Tongan flag bare-chested and glistening in his traditional ta’ovala.

“I want to still be alive for my race. It’s going to be freezing, so I will be keeping nice and warm,” he said prior to the games.

WATCH: The Shirtless Tongan is back!

But Taufatofua couldn’t resist, entering the arena — again bare-chested and glistening in his traditional ta’ovala — to wild cheers.

Taufatofua remarkably qualified for the Olympics as a cross country skier when he picked up the sport after returning from Rio determined to become Tonga’s first athlete to compete in both the summer and winter Olympics.

THE ARENA

The 35,000-seat PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, which cost upwards of $75 million to construct, was finished late in 2017 and will be used for just four events. The plan is to remove the temporary installation and keep the surrounding facilities as an homage to the 2018 Games.

The arena will host the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 25 and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Paralympics soon after.

THE RINGS

The lighting of the Olympic rings was an impressive show. Glowing snowboarders charged down a darkened competition slope before forming into rings, only revealed as the camera shifted overhead. Simultaneously, new rings seemed to materialize and hover over the mountain for a stirring shot.

WATCH: Opening Ceremony: Drumline

LIGHTING THE CAULDRON

After its 1,254-mile journey across the country, carried by 7,500 runners to represent the 75 million people residing on the Korean peninsula, representatives from North and South Korea climbed a daunting set of lit-up stairs deliver the Olympic flame to its final destination.

As many guessed, it was Korean figure skating gold medalist and superstar Kim Yu-na who received the honor of lighting the cauldron — doing so in skates, no less. Once she lit the base of the cauldron, a ladder of fire periscoped upward to reach the top of a massive white tower visible atop one of the corners of the pentagonal stadium.

WATCH: Opening Ceremony: Auraji Raft

GRAND FINALE

Over 20,000 fireworks were set off during the Opening Ceremony, which concluded with arresting visuals of lasers and fire.

WATCH: Opening Ceremony: Dancers

How to watch Closing Ceremony of 2018 Winter Olympics

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Another Olympics is in the books.

The PyeongChang Closing Ceremony will cap off the 2018 Winter Games Sunday morning, beginning at 6 a.m. ET / 3 a.m. PT with a live stream of the events.

Jessie Diggins has been named the U.S. flag bearer after an incredibly gutsy performance to take home the country’s first-ever gold medal in Cross-Country.

How, when and where to watch the Closing Ceremony

Stream LIVE on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app: Sunday at 6 a.m. ET / 3 a.m. PT (Stream here)

The live stream will feature all the sights and sounds of the Closing Ceremony without any commentary.

Watch on TV: Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC (Stream here)

The Olympic figure skating commentating trio of Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir and Terry Gannon will host the Closing Ceremony on NBC in primetime beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

“It’s a huge honor and privilege,” Lipinski said. “I’m so excited to embark on this new and exciting adventure and bring the Closing Ceremony to the U.S.”

“This is a glorious and unexpected experience that I can’t wait to get fancy for!” Weir said.

Mike Tirico – NBC’s primetime host throughout the PyeongChang Games – hosted the Closing Ceremony for Rio in 2016 alongside Ryan Seacrest and Mary Carillo.

Tirico and Katie Couric hosted the PyeongChang Opening Ceremony in South Korea two weeks ago.

Sunday night’s primetime edition of the Closing Ceremony will also feature simulstreams on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app. (Stream here)

Team USA’s historic curling victory, in their own words

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There’s no one word to describe Team USA’s men’s curling victory in the gold medal game Saturday morning.

For a team in a sport that is known for yelling, the victory left John Shuster, Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner speechless.

Watch highlights from Team USA’s 10-7 gold medal win over Sweden

John Shuster:

On the morning of February 19, Matt’s (Hamilton) birthday, the day we played Canada, I woke up saw it and said ‘I have a choice. I have a choice to rewrite my story, to write the story of this team. That we put the work in and I wasn’t going to let any thought in my head or any of that stuff get the in way of the story of this team… they deserve to have the skip who helped them get here and I’m glad I showed up.

Matt Hamilton:

It’s unbelievable, this whole last four years. Just being on the cusp at the world championships. Getting bronze one year, coming fourth and fifth the other two years. We knew we were close, and to make the breakthrough here at the Olympics is just amazing.

Tyler George:

It’s too surreal to even think about right now… I think it’s going to hit harder tomorrow but I keep waiting to wake up. I’ve not been emotional because it’s just shock. To go from where we were a few days ago… the emotions, they’re bottled up and they’re building but it’s going to be a little bit before they come out.

NBCOlympics.com: PyeongChang a much different Olympics for Shuster, Team USA

John Landsteiner:

For me and John [Shuster]… This time around we were able to show them what we’re capable of and we’re really proud of that… And this team, I’m just proud of what we have all done. We’ve put in so much work together the last four years and we’ve been able to peak at the right time obviously. So I can’t imagine it means any more than the world to any of us.