North Korea’s Participation in the 2018 Olympics


Suha Niyas, In-Depth Editor

North Korea’s participation in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea is causing quite a stir among people around the world. The sudden, temporary unification between the neighboring nations shocked the globe, having people worry about the safety of South Korea and the foreigners participating in the Olympics.

On Jan. 17, it was announced to the public that the North and South Korean athletes were going to march together under one flag at the Pyeongchang Olympics, according to South Korea’s unification ministry. Although North Korea’s skiers are not expected to compete this year, they will still practice with South Korean skiers at the Masikryong Ski Resort resort. The two nations also agreed to combine their female ice hockey teams for the Olympics.

North Korea will be participating in figure skating, asRyom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik were fortunate enough to be in the Olympics due to an acceptance received by the International Olympics Committee. The pair were qualified to enter the event, but the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea did not enter the duo by the deadline. They became the first North Korean athletes to participate in an Olympics hosted by South Korea.

A 230-member cheering squad from North Korea will be sent to support the athletes, while a North Korean Taekwondo team of 30 will perform a demonstration at the event. North Korea will also be sending a mix of 150 athletes and supporters to the Paralympics.

   The sudden unification of the two nations for the sports event is worrying some people about South Korea’s performance in the games.

South Korea’s women’s ice hockey coach, Sarah Murray told reporters at Incheon International Airport, “I think there is damage to our players. It’s hard because the players have earned their spots and they think they deserve to go to the Olympics. Then you have people being added later. It definitely affects our players.”

“I think the joint team will create more tension between the players rather than unify them,” Sophomore Katherine Park said.

The outcome of this collaboration still won’t be known until the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics begin. The world has to wonder whether North and South Korea’s temporary alliance for the games will become a sign for political union for peace or show the shattered bond between the two nations.