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France Undecided about 2018 Winter Olympics Participation

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France Minister of Sport Laura Flessel gives a speech at the presentation of Paris 2024 at the 131st IOC session in Lima, Peru September 13, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Just in case you didn’t see this, National Hockey League players may not be the only athletes who will be missing from the 2018 South Korea Olympic Games. France might not show up either.

With tensions between the United States and North Korea increasing and it has reached the point of personal name calling, France may not be comfortable sending its citizens not far from the North Korea and South Korea border.

France’s sports minister Laura Flessel told a local French radio outlet that if “our security cannot be assured, the French Olympics team will stay home.” Flessel seemed to indicate that security concerns need to be addressed and added that a decision has not been reached to send the French team to compete. Her response of “we’re not there yet” speaks volumes.

Meanwhile, two other countries are considering sitting out the 2018 South Korea Games. Austria and Germany.

Austria’s national Olympic committee chairman Karl Stoss said if the tensions increase, his country won’t be in South Korea and Germany may be in the “sitting this one out camp”. The South Korean Olympic site is about 50 miles from the Korean peninsula’s demilitarized zone, the area that provides a buffer zone on the North Korea-South Korea border.

The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, who has no official diplomatic credentials as the IOC is a private sports organization even though the group has permanent observer status at the United Nations and acts as if it is a sovereign nation, is trying to tell countries that the South Korean Olympics will be secure and that athlete safety and security is being addressed. Canada, Denmark and Sweden are preparing for the South Korea Games.

It should be noted that the IOC has no real security apparatus and relies on the host country to provide security. The US has a large military presence in South Korea.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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