A record 94 countries have expressed interest in sending athletes to next year’s Winter Olympics, although North Korea has yet to indicate whether it will attend the Games.
There were 88 countries which competed at Sochi 2014, itself an improvement on the 82 who took part at Vancouver 2010.
Should the 94 countries follow through with their interest, it would continue the trend of more nations participating at the next edition of the Games.
The run began at Sarajevo 1984 when 49 countries participated, compared to 37 from Lake Placid four years earlier.
The final list of nations expected to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 is due to confirmed on January 29, when the deadline for entries from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) passes.
Afghanistan could be one of the countries which could help achieve a record number of NOCs at the Winter Olympics.
It was reported last week that they will aim to make their Winter Olympic debut after two Alpine skiers were “selected” for Pyeongchang 2018.
Sayed Alishah Farhang and Sajjad Husaini will hope to compete in the giant slalom at Pyeongchang 2018, due to take place from February 9 until 25.
It currently remains unclear as to whether North Korea intends to send a delegation to the first-ever Winter Olympic Games to be held in South Korea.
North Korea figure skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the pairs competition last month.
IOC officials and South Korea have sought to ensure North Korea’s participation at Pyeongchang 2018.
Organizers are hopeful that Pyeongchang 2018 can be a vehicle for peace between North and South Korea.
A series of missile tests by the North, and strained rhetoric with the United States, have led to security fears.
It was claimed last month that North Korea had expressed their intention to compete at the Winter Paralympic Games, which would require them to be given wildcard entries.
The deadline for National Paralympic Committees to be entered is scheduled for February 24.
The Paralympics is due to take place March 8 to 18.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.