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North and South Korea Experience Olympic Unity

Liam Nelson, Staff Writer

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Throughout history North Korea has been in constant conflict with South Korea. A border divides the nations, along with armed officials and military personnel. Communication between the two nations has traditionally been short and hostile. However, this pattern of isolation took a turn during the 2018 Winter Olympic negotiations. Representatives from the north and south  were able to agree upon a compromise that would have both nations compete under one flag. During the opening ceremonies athletes from North Korea will walk with the athletes from South Korea. To strengthen this fresh bond, the two countries will share a women’s ice hockey team. The south has requested an expanded roster from the Olympic committee due to their more plentiful athletic resources and larger number of athletes. This will allow the northern and southern athletes to have a fair chance.

 

On February 2nd the first 10 athletes from North Korea arrived in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The athletes, three alpine skiers, three cross-country skiers, two figure skaters and two short track speed skaters, were quiet upon their arrival and did not say much to media outlets covering the games. Figure skater Ryom Tae-ok was one of the few who spoke to photographers, saying, “I don’t talk before competitions” before adding, “It’s cold here.” There has been speculation about the North Korean athletes making an effort to flee from the games to obtain freedom, but Olympic officials have set strict security rules throughout the Olympic village and are not worried about such conflicts.

 

Adding coverage to the issue is America’s own presidential administration, which has experienced conflict with North Korea throughout the past year. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have articulated distaste for the nation, in addition to their concern over a nuclear missile attack. It is hoped that the games will be an event that can break tensions and bring all nations involved together during a month of friendly competition. The games begin on February 8th.

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North and South Korea Experience Olympic Unity