On January 20 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally accepted the proposal from the Olympic Committees of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) for Korean athletes to march in the opening ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang on February 9 under the Korean Unification flag. Athletes from Korea marching in the ceremonies will wear a special uniform with the flag on it. Korea will also have one unified women’s hockey team, the first time the two National Olympic Committees have formed a unified sports team.
Under the “Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration,” the International Olympic Committee also granted accreditations to the National Olympic Committee of the DPRK for 22 athletes in three sports and five disciplines. The DPRK will compete in: figure skating, short track speed skating, cross country skiing and alpine skiing. Skiers from north and south will train together.
The IOC also granted accreditation for 24 officials and 21 media representatives from the DPRK. The athletes are expected to travel to the ROK and join the Olympic village no later than February 1.
The Declaration indicated that all parties welcomed joint cultural, sporting and other activities proposed by the DPRK and ROK, which will take place alongside the Olympic games.
The Declaration concluded: “The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean Peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope.
“The Olympic Games show us what the world could look like, if we were all guided by the Olympic spirit of respect and understanding. This is the Olympic message that will go from PyeongChang to the world.”
Reports indicate that the DPRK will also send a delegation, including athletes, to the Paralympic Games which follow the Olympics.
The agreement between the DPRK and ROK accords with the aspiration of Koreans for re-unification and is a contribution towards peace.