Koreans Agree On Unified Olympic Approach: Sport Can Sometimes Bring People Together

Olympics Bring Unification The simmering tensions on the Korean peninsula may ease a bit. For a bit. Your friendly neighborhood blog (FNB) is no expert on foreign policy. But...

Olympics Bring Unification

The simmering tensions on the Korean peninsula may ease a bit. For a bit. Your friendly neighborhood blog (FNB) is no expert on foreign policy. But the agreement between South Korea and North Korea under a unified flag at the
Winter Olympics next month qualifies as some sort of political progress reached under the banner of sport.

There never was a peace agreement to end the Korean War, and so two nations coexisted uneasily, one growing economically and one stuck in a weird Communist time warp of divine dictators and no contact with the outside world.

Now, instead of lobbying hostilities at each other, they’re at least engaging. Here is how CNN reported the joint Olympic delegation:

“North and South Korean athletes will march together at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony under a unified flag, the South said Wednesday, in a diplomatic breakthrough following days of talks between the two countries.

They will also field a joint North and South Korean women’s ice hockey team for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which begin early next month, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said.

North and South Korean skiers will train together at a resort in North Korea before the Olympics start, and performers from the two countries will also hold a joint cultural event there.”

There’s no point in predicting further successes, based on the erratic rulership of North Korea and its continued bellicosity on other fronts. But at some point, in a world electronically united, the North Koreans will have to catch up and join the rest of us.

Sport can help, even though politics has historically been part of the Olympics (see Jesse Owens in 1932 in Nazi Germany, 1968 in Mexico with protests by black American athletes, 1972 with the murder of the Israeli team by Palestinian terrorists, the U.S. boycott of 1980 and the Soviet retaliation of 1984).

For once, maybe sanity can lead to unity. It’s a thought. And a hope.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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