Postcard from Pyeongchang: Topless Tongan can't upstage Korean charm offensive

Senior Editor Graham Bell reports from the opening ceremony at the Winter Olympics... 

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Fittingly, spectators making their way to Pyeongchang's Olympic Stadium had to enter through a tunnel of light. 

What they got to see once inside was a ray of hope for a divided corner of the world on a bitterly cold night, as the Winter Olympics officially got under way.

Athletes wrapped up in heated jackets and fans huddled under specially created blankets, meaning one intrepid salesman wasn't pulling in much trade for his flag-bearing wares.

Out on the street, video crews and reporters were left ducking in and out of coffee shops in a forlorn attempt to retain some feeling in hands and feet. 

Quite how Tongan Pita Taufatofua, already a cult hero from Rio 2016, braved the conditions to complete a topless opening ceremony double will go down as one of the great mysteries of these Games. 

But even he was overshadowed by a moment that could enable a fraternal warmth to glow over this event during the next two weeks.

While the lead-up to the opening ceremony was overshadowed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport's rejection of final appeals from excluded Russian athletes, there was no denying the moment the world had come to see; North and South Korean competitors walking together under a united flag.

Greeted by easily the loudest roar of the night, their entrance side by side was an uplifting sight that seemed impossible mere months ago amid heightened tensions in the region.

And that was not the only symbol of conciliation dominating the airwaves.

Television screens are filled with images of Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, her every move and motion being scrutinised and commented on. 

The visiting Samjiyon Orchestra have also enjoyed plenty of exposure, as they warmed hearts the night before on the coast in Gangneung, belting out the hits from local favourites to the theme from Phantom of the Opera. 

A charm offensive from each of the neighbours is undeniably in full, welcome effect.

Now, though, it's time for politics to step aside, as 2,952 athletes from 92 countries around the world compete for medals in 102 events. 

While plenty of tickets have been shifted, they are not quite sold out just yet. 

But if the passion shown on the opening night is anything to go by, we could be in for more memorable moments, and you won't want to miss the chance to take it all in.

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