Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-beom has claimed that North Korea could participate in the figure skating, Alpine skiing, cross country skiing and women’s ice hockey at next month’s Winter Olympic Games.
He made his revelation as he left to travel here for a meeting with North and South Korean officials chaired by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Saturday (January 20).
The finer details of North Korean participation are due to be ironed out at the meeting.
Lee claimed that agreement over basic participation details had been reached at inter-Korean talks yesterday but said the final numbers must be determined through consultation with the IOC.
“Basically, the IOC is the one that invites countries to the Olympics,” he said at Incheon International Airport, according to the Yonhap news agency.
“And the agreement between South and North Korea must follow the IOC’s standards.”
Pairs figure skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik are the only North Korean athletes to have so far qualified for Pyeongchang 2018.
They missed a deadline last month to accept their spot, but are poised to be invited.
insidethegames exclusively revealed earlier this month that a joint North and South Korean ice hockey team has been proposed.
Concerns have been raised by the South Korean coach, as well as other participating nations, but it is still considered likely to go ahead.
South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said during a university lecture today that the two Koreas have agreed to add “five to six” North Korean players to a full squad of South Korean players.
If confirmed, this will mark the first time athletes from the two countries have ever competed together at the Olympic Games.
North Korea does not have any Alpine skiers or cross-country skiers at an elite level so it is not yet clear exactly who could compete there or in which specific events.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.