North Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics

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North Korea at the
2018 Winter Olympics
Flag of North Korea.svg
IOC code PRK
NOC Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
in Pyeongchang, South Korea
February 9–25, 2018
Competitors 10 in 4 sports
Flag bearer None[note 1]
Medals
Gold
0
Silver
0
Bronze
0
Total
0
Winter Olympics appearances (overview)
Other related appearances
Korea (2018)

North Korea competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Two figure skaters, Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, qualified for the Games, but the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) failed to enter them by the 30 October deadline. On 9 January 2018, North Korea agreed in negotiations with South Korea to send both athletes and a delegation to the Winter Olympics.[2]

The teams representing North Korea and South Korea entered the Opening Ceremony marching under the Korean Unification Flag, while in women's ice hockey there was a single united Korean team.[3]

Competitors

The following is the list of number of competitors participating in the North Korean delegation per sport.[4]

Sport Men Women Total
Alpine skiing 2 1 3
Cross-country skiing 2 1 3
Figure skating 1 1 2
Ice hockey 0 0[a] 0
Short track speed skating 2 0 2
Total 7 3 10
  1. ^ 12 athletes of the women's ice hockey team formed part of a unified Korea women's team which competed under a different country code (COR).[5]

Lead up to the Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wanted to have North Korean athletes at the Games. In order to increase their chances of qualification, the IOC offered to support them with equipment, accommodation, and travel to qualification events.[6]

North Korean short track speed skaters and cross-country skiers did not qualify for the Games.[7] A wild card arrangement was considered for the eventuality that no North Korean athlete would have qualified.[8]

The host nation South Korea had proposed a unified team of the two Koreas at the Games. The team would participate at least in the women's ice hockey event and possibly more disciplines.[9][10] North Korea refused this in June 2017 on the grounds of time constraints.[11][10]

Similarly, South Korea had suggested that North Korea could co-host some of the skiing events at the Masikryong Ski Resort. This suggestion came after Moon Jae-in was elected President of South Korea in 2017. Earlier in December 2014, the organizers had denied the possibility of sharing any part of their bid with the North.[9] Like the unified team proposal, the new co-hosting proposal was refused by the North.[10] North Korea, however, supported South Korea's Olympic bid for the 2018 games.[11] This was unlike in 1988, when North Korea was willing to co-host the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, but once those plans failed, it ended up boycotting the Games and bombing Korean Air Flight 858 in what is believed to be an attempt to sabotage the Games.[12]

Qualification

Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik in 2017

Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the Games on 29 September 2017 at the 2017 CS Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.[6] Their successful free skating program was to the tune of "Je ne suis qu'une chanson" by Ginette Reno and their short program on the day before was to the music of The Beatles.[13][6] They took one of the five available qualification spots for pair skaters at the event,[6] as they were expected beforehand.[14]

The qualification was seen as a positive development, since it could alleviate fears of the escalation of the 2017–18 North Korea crisis that might have otherwise jeopardized the Games.[6]

The International Skating Union confirmed Ryom and Kim's qualification, but the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) had to approve their participation,[6] which Chang Ung, a North Korean member of the IOC, said he found likely.[15] "I am quite sure that politics is one thing and Olympics is another thing. So I don't see any big problem for the Pyeongchang Olympics", he has said.[8] Despite this, the DPRK National Olympic Committee failed to accept the two athletes by the deadline of 30 October.[16]

Failure to enter athletes

Because the North Korean NOC failed to enter their only qualified athletes to the Games, its participation remained uncertain.[16] The North Korean spot went to the runners up, Sumire Suto and Francis Boudreau-Audet representing Japan.[17] They needed to accept the spot by 21 December, which did not happen.[7] North Korea could have still requested its quota to be confirmed, in which case the IOC would have deliberated on the matter. "[W]e would of course be flexible if they expressed a desire to come", an IOC spokesperson has said.[16] A wild card option remained on the table.[7]

Organizers of the games did not expect the final decision on participation to be made until the very last opportunity,[18] and Moon Jae-in had given North Korea the chance to decide on participation at any time before the Games begin.[6]

High-level talks

The impasse ended when North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un signaled a possibility to send athletes to the Games after all in his New Year's speech for 2018, saying "North Korea's participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to showcase the national pride and we wish the Games will be a success. Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility".[19] The announcement was followed by South Korean agreement to participate in the first high-level talks with the North since December 2015. The talks were scheduled for 9 January 2018.[20] North Korea is also prepared to talk to the IOC that week.[21] In preparation for the North–South talks, the two countries restored the Seoul–Pyongyang hotline, which had been inactive for almost two years,[22] and exchanged related documents via fax.[20] After these developments, North Korea's IOC member Chang Ung said that the participation of North Korean figure skaters again looked likely.[23] After discussions on 9 January 2018, North Korea announced they would send athletes to compete along with a delegation to attend the Winter Olympics.[2]

These moves were met with opposition in South Korea, including protests and online petitions; critics argued that the government was attempting to use the Olympics to spread pro-North Korean sentiment, and that the unified hockey team would fail.[24] A rap video entitled "The Regret for Pyeongchang" (평창유감), which echoed this criticism and called the event the "Pyongyang Olympics", went viral in the country.[25] Japan's foreign affairs minister Tarō Kōno warned South Korea to be wary of North Korea's "charm offensive", and not to ease its pressure on the country.[26][27]

Diplomacy at the Games

North Korean and South Korean athletes at the closing ceremony

The athletes from North and South marched under the Korean unification flag in the opening ceremony.[28] South Korean Won Yun-jong and North Korean Hwang Chung-gum both held the flagpole.[29]

As well as the athletes, North Korea sent an unprecedented high-level delegation, headed by Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un, and President Kim Yong-nam, and including performers like the Samjiyon Orchestra.[30] The delegation passed on an invitation to President Moon to visit North Korea.[30]

The South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, at the start of the Olympics shook hands with Kim Yo-jong. This marked the first time since the Korean War that a member of the ruling Kim dynasty had visited South Korea.[31][32] In contrast, US Vice President Mike Pence met North Korean defectors in PyeongChang joined by Fred Warmbier, whose son Otto died the year before after being released from North Korean captivity.[33] American officials said that North Korea cancelled a meeting with Pence at the last minute.[34]

The apparent softening of relations between the two countries was marred by North Korea dispatching general Kim Yong-chol to head the North Korean delegation present at the closing ceremony. The arrival of Kim, held responsible by South Korea for the deaths of dozens of South Korean navy personnel, was met with hostility but the government did not oppose his presence at the Olympics. The general ended up being seated in the same stand as the daughter of the president of the USA, Ivanka Trump.[35]

Alpine skiing

Athlete Event Run 1 Run 2 Total Ref
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Choe Myong-gwang Men's giant slalom 1:38.67 85 1:33.34 75 3:12.01 75 [36]
Men's slalom 1:09.42 51 1:13.39 43 2:22.81 43 [37]
Kang Song-il Men's giant slalom 1:32.03 84 1:29.99 74 3:02.02 74 [36]
Men's slalom 1:11.43 52 DNF [37]
Kim Ryon-hyang Women's giant slalom 1:40.22 67 DSQ DNF [38]
Women's slalom 1:18.17 59 1:19.81 54 2:37.98 54 [39]

Cross-country skiing

Distance
Athlete Event Final Ref
Time Deficit Rank
Han Chun-gyong Men's 15 km freestyle 42:29.2 +8:45.3 101 [40]
Pak Il-chol 43:43.4 +9:59.5 107 [40]
Ri Yong-gum Women's 10 km freestyle 36:40.4 +11:39.9 89 [41]

Figure skating

Athlete Event SP FS Total Ref
Points Rank Points Rank Points Rank
Ryom Tae-ok
Kim Ju-sik
Pairs 69.4 11 124.23 12 193.63 13 [42]

Ice hockey – Women's tournament

In January 2018, it was announced that the North Korean team would be amalgamated with a group of South Korean players to form a single Korean team in the tournament. In this team, at least three North Korean players will be selected for each game.[43] South Korea women's national ice hockey team qualified as the host.[44]

Short track speed skating

Athlete Event Heat Quarterfinal Semifinal Final Ref
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Jong Kwang-bom Men's 500 m PEN Did not advance [45]
Choe Un-song Men's 1500 m 2:18.213 6 N/A Did not advance [46]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ North Korea did not march as a separate country at the Parade of Nations. Their delegates, along with South Korea's participated in the opening ceremony as "Korea". North Korean ice hockey player Hwang Chung-gum along with South Korean bobsleigher Won Yun-jong were the flagbearers of the unified Korea team.[1]

References

  1. ^ "Olympics' most powerful moment". NewsComAu. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018. 
  2. ^ a b Sang-Hun, Choe (8 January 2018). "North Korea to Send Athletes to Olympics in South Korea Breakthrough". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  3. ^ Sang-hun, Choe (17 January 2018). "North and South Korean Teams to March as One at Olympics". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  4. ^ "NOC Entries - Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Retrieved 4 February 2018. 
  5. ^ "N. Korea to send 22 athletes in three sports to PyeongChang Winter Olympics: IOC". Yonhap. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Figure skating: North Korea pair qualify for Pyeongchang 2018". Reuters. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Lee Song-heung (1 December 2017). "N.Korean Skaters Forfeit Tickets to Pyeongchang Olympics". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Longman, Jeré (27 September 2017). "North Korea Skaters Seek Olympic Bid, and Diplomats Cheer". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "N. Korean IOC member keeps mum on Olympic co-hosting with S. Korea". Yonhap News Agency. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c "N Korea refuses South's Olympic offer". BBC News. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  11. ^ a b Payne, Marissa (30 September 2017). "PyeongChang Olympic organizers happy to see first North Koreans qualify for 2018 Games". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  12. ^ Longman, Jeré (23 May 2017). "With the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, Will the North Be Participant or Provocateur?". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 October 2017. 
  13. ^ "N. Korean skating pair earns Pyeongchang spot". The Japan News. The Yomiuri Shimbun. Agence France-Presse. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  14. ^ Zaccardi, Nick (26 September 2017). "North Korea can qualify for Olympics this week". OlympicTalk. NBC Sports. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "S. Korea welcomes 'special' Olympic skaters from North". New Straits Times. Agence France-Presse. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c Axon, Rachel (10 December 2017). "IOC encourages North Koreans to compete in Pyeongchang, but it's unclear if they will". USA Today. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  17. ^ "Figure skating: Japan to contest Olympic pairs after N. Korea misses deadline". Kyodo News. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  18. ^ Moon, Angela (14 November 2017). "North Korea decision on Olympics participation seen as last minute: South Korea official". Reuters. Retrieved 13 December 2017. 
  19. ^ Heekyong Yang; Smith, Josh (1 January 2018). "North Korea's Kim 'open to dialogue' with South Korea, will only use nukes if threatened". Reuters. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  20. ^ a b "North Korea accepts Olympics talks offer". BBC News. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  21. ^ "North Korea will meet with South Korea for talks next week in small breakthrough". Chicago Tribune. AP. 5 January 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  22. ^ Kim, Hyung-Jin (3 January 2018). "North Korea reopens cross-border communication channel with South Korea". Chicago Tribune. AP. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  23. ^ "Reports: North Korea likely to be at Olympics". ESPN. AP. 6 January 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  24. ^ "South Korean protesters object to Olympic Games deal with North Korea". Los Angeles Times. 18 January 2018. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018. 
  25. ^ "Rap video frosty welcome for 2018 Winter Olympic Games". BBC News. 2 February 2018. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018. 
  26. ^ "Koreas to carry single flag at Olympics". BBC News. 2018. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018. 
  27. ^ "Korean Olympic Cooperation Provokes Protests in Seoul". Time. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018. 
  28. ^ "Winter Olympics 2018 opening ceremony – live!". Guardian. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018. 
  29. ^ "Winter Olympics 2018 opening ceremony review: Pyeongchang unites the world in a blizzard of emotion and effects". The Telegraph. Retrieved February 11, 2018. 
  30. ^ a b Ji, Dagyum (12 February 2018). "Delegation visit shows N. Korea can take "drastic" steps to improve relations: MOU". NK News. 
  31. ^ Haas, Benjamin (9 February 2018). "US vice-president skips Olympics dinner in snub to North Korea officials". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018. 
  32. ^ Friedman, Uri. "North Korea's Undeserved Olympic Glory". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 10 February 2018. Retrieved 10 February 2018. 
  33. ^ Labott, Elise (9 February 2018). "As North Koreans arrive at Olympics, Pence points to defectors to counter regime". CNN. Archived from the original on 17 February 2018. Retrieved 17 February 2018. 
  34. ^ "US says North Korea cancelled planned meeting with US VP Mike Pence". Stuff (Fairfax). 21 February 2018. 
  35. ^ "US ties any North Korea talks to nuclear arms". 
  36. ^ a b "Alpine Skiing: Men's Giant Slalom: Run 1: Official Results" (PDF). PyeongChang2018/FIS. 18 February 2018. p. 2. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  37. ^ a b "Alpine Skiing: Men's Slalom: Run 1: Official Results" (PDF). PyeongChang2018/FIS. 22 February 2018. p. 2. Retrieved 13 March 2018. 
  38. ^ "Alpine Skiing | Results Ladies' Giant Slalom Run 2 - Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games". www.pyeongchang2018.com. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  39. ^ "Alpine Skiing | Results Ladies' Slalom Run 2 - Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games". www.pyeongchang2018.com. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  40. ^ a b "Cross-Country Skiing | Results Men' 15km Free - Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games". www.pyeongchang2018.com. 16 February 2018. Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  41. ^ "Cross-Country Skiing | Results Ladies' 10km Free - Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games". www.pyeongchang2018.com. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018. 
  42. ^ "Figure Skating | Results Pair Skating Short Program - Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games". www.pyeongchang2018.com. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  43. ^ "Winter Olympics 2018: North Korea will send 22 athletes to Pyeongchang". BBC News. 20 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  44. ^ Steiss, Adam (19 September 2014). "Korea headed to the Olympics: National teams granted entry to PyeongChang 2018". IIHF. Retrieved 4 February 2018. 
  45. ^ "Short Track Speed Skating – Men's 500m – Heats Results" (PDF). Pyeongchang 2018. International Olympic Committee. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018. 
  46. ^ "Short Track Speed Skating - Results - Olympic Winter Games 2018 - Men - 1,500m - Heats". shorttrack.sportresult.com. ISU. 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018. 

External links

  • North Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics
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