The 2018 Winter Olympics get underway at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on Friday, where the opening ceremony marks the beginning of a showcase seven years in the making.
South Korea will open its doors to myriad nations from across the globe, each of whom has travelled to Pyeongchang with the objective of emerging atop the medal standings come the end of the competition.
The competition will be fierce, but the opening ceremony will provide a calm before the storm comprising the traditional Parade of Nations, along with performances illustrating the culture of the host country.
Below is a list of flag-bearers already announced ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony, complete with a preview of what we might expect at the Olympics Stadium kick-off.
Date: Friday, February 9
Time: 11 a.m. GMT/ 6 a.m. ET
TV Info: BBC Two (UK), Eurosport (UK), NBC Sports (U.S.)
Albania: Suella Mehelli, Alpine Skiing
Andorra: Irineu Esteve Altimiras, Cross-country Skiing
Austria: Anna Veith, Alpine Skiing
Azerbaijan: Peter Brachner, Alpine Skiing
Belgium: Seppe Smits, Snowboarding
Bolivia: Simon Breitfuss Kammerlander, Alpine Skiing
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Elvedina Muzaferija, Alpine Skiing
Brazil: Edson Bindilatti, Bobsleigh
Bulgaria: Radoslav Yankov, Snowboarding
Canada: Tessa Vue and Scott Moir, Figure Skating
Chile: Henrik von Appen, Alpine Skiing
Croatia: Natko Zrncic-Dim, Alpine Skiing
Czeck Republic: Eva Samkova, Snowboarding
Denmark: Elena Moller Rigas, Speed Skating
Ecuador: Klaus Jungbluth Rodriguez, Cross-country Skiing
Eritrea: Shannon Ogbani-Abeda, Alpine Skiing
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Stavre Jada, Cross-country Skiing
France: Martin Fourcade, Biathlon
Israel: Alexei Bychenko, Figure skating
Italy: Arianna Fontana, Short Track Speed Skating
Japan: Noriaki Kasai, Ski Jumping
Kazakhstan: Abzal Azhgaliyev, Short Track Speed Skating
Kosovo: Albin Tahiri, Alpine Skiing
Latvia: Daumants Dreiskens, Bobsleigh
Lithuania: Tomas Kaukena, Biathlon
Malaysia: Julian Yee, Figure skating
Mexico: Sarah Schleper, Alpine Skiing
Monaco: Rudy Rinaldi, Bobsleigh
Mongolia: Achbadarkh Batmunkh, Cross-country Skiing
Netherlands: Jan Smeekens, Speed Skating
Norway: Emil Hegle Svendsen, Biathlon
Olympic Athletes From Russia: IOC Volunteer
Poland: Zbigniew Brodka, Speed Skating
Romania: Marius Ungueranu, Biathlon
San Marino: Alessandro Mariotti, Alpine Skiing
Serbia: Nevena Ignjatovic, Alpine Skiing
Slovakia: Veronika Velez-Zuzulova, Alpine Skiing
Slovenia: Vesna Fabjan, Cross-country Skiing
Spain: Lucas Eguibar, Snowboarding
Taiwan: Lien Te-An, Luge
Tonga: Pita Taufatofua
The organisers of the 2018 Winter Olympics have done their bit to ensure many details surrounding the opening ceremony, including information on which acts are performing, have remained secret, according to Tamar Herman of Billboard.com.
However, Herman cited reports from Korean outlet YTN Star and newspaper Korea Joongang Daily that appeared to reveal two opening-ceremony acts ahead of Friday’s curtain-raiser.
Ha Hyun Woo, lead singer of South Korean indie rock band Guckkasten, and Ahn Ji-young, one half of female K-Pop duo Bolbbalgan4 (also known as Bolbbalgan Sachungi), are both set to perform.
The official motto of the 2018 Winter Olympics has been advertised as "Passion. Connected." while the opening ceremony theme will be peace.
Korean R&B singer Insooni is responsible for the Winter Games' official torch relay track and theme "Let Everyone Shine," which Kim Dae-hyun, Pyeongchang 2018 Director General of Culture and Ceremonies, described to the official Olympic website as in keeping with that motif of peace:
“Insooni’s performance tonight of ‘Let Everyone Shine’ was a great way to launch the theme that will unite the nation and help share the Olympic spirit, as the Olympic flame makes its way across Korea from 1 November this year. She sang it with great passion and connected with the crowd celebrating the 200-days-to-go milestone of the Olympic Winter Games."
As for flag-bearers set to lead out their respective nations at the Olympic Stadium, there are many countries still yet to officially announce who will serve as their mascot in the venue.
Barring any late duo entries, Canadian figure skaters Tessa Vue and Scott Moir will be the only pair to serve as flag-bearers.
Vogue recently confirmed hosts South Korea and neighbouring North Korea will march under the same banner at this year’s games, serving as a distraction to the "recent charged-up rhetoric" regarding the region.