February 12, 2018 / 9:13 AM / 3 months ago

Oppa Gangneung style! - fashion on show at the Games

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - Biting winds and freezing temperatures can make it hard to strike a balance between looking cool and staying warm at South Korea’s Winter Olympics.

FILE PHOTO - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening Ceremony – Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 9, 2018 - Pita Taufatofua of Tonga carries the national flag during the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Phil Noble

With Pyeongchang shaping up to be the coldest Games in decades, furry hats, thick puffer coats and neck warmers are a necessity, but can be stylish too.

Canadian short track speed skater Jamie Macdonald is very happy with her red and black parka which has “Canada” emblazoned across the chest and a white maple leaf on the back.

“I feel like it really embodies the Canadian spirit and I think we all look really good too, so that’s a huge plus,” she told Reuters Television.

Other athletes say comfort is as important as looking good.

“I think it works well,” said Sarah Forster, a Swiss ice hockey player wearing black track pants and a red and white parka with the Swiss cross.

“Usually we always wear jeans to go to work. To be able to walk around in a tracksuit for three weeks, that’s good too,” she said.

FILE PHOTO - Alpine Skiing – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s Downhill – Yongpyong Alpine Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 10, 2018 - Volunteers leave the Yongpyong Alpine venue. Picture taken February 10, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

At Friday’s icy opening ceremony where teams marched in colorful uniforms in the parade of nations, few could match Tonga’s topless flag-bearer Pita Taufatofua.

The 34-year-old cross-country skier was cheered when he emerged from the tunnel covered in body oil and wearing a grass skirt, sandals and a huge smile.

"Tonga's shirtless flag bearer has done it again," said a headline on Twitter. (reut.rs/2G8pGUr)

By far the most common outfit is the pink and gray worn by the army of volunteers deployed across the venues in Pyeongchang and the coastal town of Gangneung.

Yoon Gun-woo, a South Korean volunteer at the Gangneung Olympic Park, said he liked the job but the uniform was a bit too garish for his taste.

“It’s the colour of meat. It feels a bit strange,” he said.

Editing by Darren Schuettler and Ed Osmond

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