All hail the queen. On Friday morning, as the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang got underway, people all over social media reacted with delight at the presence of an unexpected and beloved face. Yuna Kim, the famed South Korean figure skater who retired following the 2014 Winter Games, made a dramatic appearance to light the Olympic torch. And before actually lighting it, she gave the crowd a brief performance, and people loved it ― Yuna Kim's 2018 Olympic skating routine video, simply put, is definitely worth your time.
Kim, 27, previously competed in the 2014 games in Sochi and the 2010 games in Vancouver, taking home a silver medal in the former, and a gold medal in the latter. She retired following her silver medal performance in Sochi, amid controversy and scrutiny directed at the event's judges, with many observers believing she should have rightfully won the gold.
Kim is not actually skating competitively this time around, to be clear, giving way to a new crop of young South Korean talent. But she's nonetheless a national icon in South Korea, and is reportedly admired and beloved by many of her fellow figure skaters. Basically, she was the absolute dream pick to light the torch for a lot of people, and when she actually appeared during the ceremony on Friday morning, social media was overflowing with excitement.
Despite having retired from competitive skating four years ago, Kim looked steady and smooth as ever on her skates, elegantly drifting and twirling and spinning. She then lit the Olympic torch, in what's one of the biggest honors an athlete or ex-Olympian can receive. As such, Kim joined such famed former torch-lighters as Chinese gymnast Li Ning, the 1980 U.S. men's hockey team, and legendary American boxed Muhammad Ali.
It's fair to say that Kim's appearance got people pretty hyped up on social media, which is partly because it was a surprise, and partly because hey, she's the queen, after all.
In a nutshell, you really couldn't have come up with a more fitting person, or a more beautiful moment for South Korea, to mark the torch-lighting. And although it took place far too early for many people to see it live, the whole thing will be broadcast by NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET on Friday night, bringing the image of Kim lighting the Olympic flame to millions throughout the United States.
In the event that you miss the 8:00 p.m. broadcast for some reason ― and mind you, that's 5:00 p.m. PT for any of you west coast folks ― you have nothing to worry about. That's because NBC will be rebroadcasting the opening ceremony again at 11:00 p.m. ET, immediately following the conclusion of the initial broadcast. So, to recap: NBC's primetime schedule on Friday night will be a combined six hours of the Olympic opening ceremony.
Of course, even though Kim is a towering figure in the world of figure skating ― in fact, she's almost certainly the most famous South Korean skater ever, even more so than the ones who're actually competing this year ― there will be some new faces vying for gold this time.
If you're curious to see how South Korea's Olympic skating team fares this year, you'll want to tune in for the next round of events. Saturday will bring a trio of team skating events, the ice dance short dance, the ladies' single skating short program, and the pair skating free skating. The slate of events is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday night, so if you're excited to see all the action, you'll definitely want to set that time aside.