Massive staircase, spiral of flames highlight dramatic torch lighting at Olympics Opening Ceremony

Friday’s Opening Ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea was marked with politics and spectacle.

While the animosity between North and South Korea was put on hold as the two delegations marched as one under the skeptical eyes of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, there was no tension on stage as stunning visuals made for a spectacular kickoff to the Winter Games.

Drones lit up the sky in to create remarkable technical visuals that stood in contrast to the humanity of the march of the athletes that gave us the return of the shirtless Tongan and Bermudans wearing Bermuda shorts in frigid temperatures.

But perhaps no moment was as dramatic as the actual torch lighting.

North Korea’s Jong Su Hyon and South Korea’s Park Jong-ah, members of the unified Korean women’s hockey team, stood with the Olympic flame at the bottom of giant staircase looking up at the unlit cauldron atop Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.

North Korea’s Jong Su Hyon, left, and South Korea’s Park Jong-ah carry the Olympic torch. (AP)

After what appeared to be a grueling climb to the top of the stairs, they handed the flame to Olympic gold and silver medal-winning figure skater Yuna Kim, who still stood well out of reach of the cauldron.

Kim touched the flame to a platform in front of her, where a giant spiral emerged, caught fire and carried the flame to the cauldron to officially open the Pyeongchang Games.

Yuna Kim lights the Olympic flame during Friday’s opening ceremony. (AP)

It was a stunning scene that should find its place on the right side of a history of torch lightings that have provided mixed results.