A pair of North Korean figure skaters will be the DPRK’s first to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Whether or not “The Supreme Leader” will let them attend– has yet to be announced.
According to the NBC Sports, Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik qualified for the 2018 games after putting down a high scoring ‘free skate’ at an internationally recognized competition in Germany. But if history provides any hints as to what the future may hold– these two athletes might not even get a chance to get on the ice.
Great competition today from the pairs at @patinageqc !! Im so honoured to have worked with Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim and proud to see their hard work pay off this weekend! They work so hard and are so willing to learn. I'll miss them! #friends #competition #summerskate #pairslongprogram (edited to add that I think all teams skated amazing not just the Koreans 🙈😜)
Back in 1988, Kim Il-sung was North Korea’s leader and South Korea was set to host the summer olympics in Seoul, the second Asian nation to host the games. After his country was left out of the olympic organizing committee, North Korea boycotted the olympics in Seoul. Since that fateful boycott, North Korea has failed to field a significant presence at the Winter games, where they’ve only medaled twice (*one silver, one bronze).
Although South Korea proposed hosting an alpine skiing event at the DPRK Masikryong Ski Resort, the tensions on the Penninsula continue to rise. With Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un going back and forth between missle tests and fiery rhetoric, two European nations already discussed skipping the games altogether.
The Dynamic Duo
Yet what these North Korean competitors offer is both peace and power for Kim Jong Un– a combination that must seem appealing to the diehard sports fan– even if it is short-lived.
We just hope the two athletes are given the chance to compete on the world’s biggest stage no matter what their nation of origin. That’s what the olympics are all about.
Find the entire NBC Sports article here: North Korea qualifies for PyeongChang Winter Olympics