By Yoo Jee-ho
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- Two players from the joint Korean women's hockey team carried the Olympic flame together during the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Friday.
South Korean player Park Jong-ah and North Korean player Jong Su-hyon held the torch together at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, and ran up several steps to the Olympic cauldron before handing the flame over to the lighter, former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na.
The torch relay that began on Nov. 1 last year reached its grand finale here Friday, and Chun Lee-kyung, a four-time Olympic champion in short track speed skating, brought the flame into the main stadium.
Jong Su-hyon from North Korea (L) and Park Jong-ah from South Korea, two members of the joint Korean women's hockey team, hold the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics together during the opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)
She then handed it over to Park In-bee, the 2016 gold medalist in women's golf. Next up was Ahn Jung-hwan, a member of the national football team that roared into the semifinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Awaiting Ahn were the two hockey players.
Park Jong-ah, 21, has been the South Korean captain and has retained her captaincy after the two Korean teams were combined for the Olympics.
Jong, also 21, is one of 12 North Korean players who have joined the 23 South Koreans on the unified team. She was North Korea's top scorer at last year's International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship Division II Group A tournament in South Korea. Sarah Murray, the joint team's head coach, has raved about Jong's hockey sense and her ability to read off other players on the ice.
Of the 35 players, only 22 -- 20 skaters and two goaltenders -- can play during the Olympics, and at least three North Koreans must be in the lineup. Jong is a prime candidate to make an appearance when Korea begins its Olympic campaign on Saturday against Switzerland.