|North Korea at the
2018 Winter Olympics
|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]|
|Winter Olympics appearances (overview)|
|Other related appearances|
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.
The following is the list of number of competitors participating in the North Korean delegation per sport.
|Short track speed skating||2||0||2|
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.
North Korean short track speed skaters and cross-country skiers did not qualify for the Games. A wild card arrangement was considered for the eventuality that no North Korean athlete would have qualified.
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. North Korea refused this in June 2017 on the grounds of time constraints.
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. Like the unified team proposal, the new co-hosting proposal was refused by the North. North Korea, however, supported South Korea's Olympic bid for the 2018 games. 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.
Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the Games on 29 September 2017 at the 2017 CS Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. 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. They took one of the five available qualification spots for pair skaters at the event, as they were expected beforehand.
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, which Chang Ung, a North Korean member of the IOC, said he found likely. "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. Despite this, the DPRK National Olympic Committee failed to accept the two athletes by the deadline of 30 October.
Because the North Korean NOC failed to enter their only qualified athletes to the Games, its participation remained uncertain. The North Korean spot went to the runners up, Sumire Suto and Francis Boudreau-Audet representing Japan. They needed to accept the spot by 21 December, which did not happen. 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. A wild card option remained on the table.
Organizers of the games did not expect the final decision on participation to be made until the very last opportunity, and Moon Jae-in had given North Korea the chance to decide on participation at any time before the Games begin.
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". 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. North Korea is also prepared to talk to the IOC that week. In preparation for the North–South talks, the two countries restored the Seoul–Pyongyang hotline, which had been inactive for almost two years, and exchanged related documents via fax. After these developments, North Korea's IOC member Chang Ung said that the participation of North Korean figure skaters again looked likely. After discussions on 9 January 2018, North Korea announced they would send athletes to compete along with a delegation to attend the Winter Olympics.
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. 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. 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.
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. The delegation passed on an invitation to President Moon to visit North Korea.
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. 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. American officials said that North Korea cancelled a meeting with Pence at the last minute.
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.
|Athlete||Event||Run 1||Run 2||Total||Ref|
|Choe Myong-gwang||Men's giant slalom||1:38.67||85||1:33.34||75||3:12.01||75|||
|Kang Song-il||Men's giant slalom||1:32.03||84||1:29.99||74||3:02.02||74|||
|Kim Ryon-hyang||Women's giant slalom||1:40.22||67||DSQ||DNF|||
|Han Chun-gyong||Men's 15 km freestyle||42:29.2||+8:45.3||101|||
|Ri Yong-gum||Women's 10 km freestyle||36:40.4||+11:39.9||89|||
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. South Korea women's national ice hockey team qualified as the host.
|Jong Kwang-bom||Men's 500 m||PEN||Did not advance|||
|Choe Un-song||Men's 1500 m||2:18.213||6||N/A||Did not advance|||
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