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United We’ll See

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Participants wave flags of the combined Koreas before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Photo: Franck Fife/Pool Photo via AP

By Evan Weiner |

The International Olympic Committee may have a new entry into what is getting to be a crowded field of areas vying for the 2032 Summer Olympics. The Korean Peninsula. South Korea’s Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan is pushing the notion that a North Korea-South Korea Olympics would work and strengthen the ties between the two countries.

Whether the rest of the world would support a Korean Peninsula bid is unknown and whether North Korea, which at best is an impoverished country really wants to join South Korea is not really known either.

Whether the United States would support a 2032 Summer Olympics bid on the Korean Peninsula seems to be in doubt at this point. Not much has happened since the Trump-Kim Jong Un summit and the United States technically remains at war with North Korea, a conflict that started in 1950 and sort of ended with a 1953 truce. However, there have been scattered skirmishes over the past 65 years.

North Korea and South Korea have occasionally joined together in Olympics events over the years with North Korean athletes participating in the 2018 South Korea Winter Games. But there was an uneasiness surrounding those Games and the IOC President Thomas Bach contended that the event was “very close” to being canceled because of North Korean missile tests and a military threat against South Korea. Eventually, North Korea did agree to send athletes to South Korea. 

North Korea has committed to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games and in the 2022 Beijing Games. It is hard to say that North Korea and the United States have a better relationship since the summit but there seems to be a line of communication between the two countries. Meanwhile it appears that countries are back in the Olympics bidding business despite massive money losses in Brazil and South Korea in the last two Olympics. The Games must go on.

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

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