[Writer's Choice] North and South Korea Unified Team for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Jay Yim, Feb. 15, 2019, 11:29 a.m.

North and South Korea made a request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow for some teams from the two countries to be joint for next years summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Officials from both countries, who are still technically at war, met with the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland to discuss the potential of a joint bid for the 2032 Olympics, an initiative the IOC welcomed.

After the discussions on Friday, the IOC revealed that North and South Korea wanted to have unified teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in women's basketball, women's field hockey, judo (mixed team event) and rowing (women and men's fours, quadruple sculls and eights).

Unlike the 2018 Winter Olympics, (when the unified women's ice hockey team qualified automatically as hosts), the unified teams will have to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and go through the same anti-doping testing program as all the other athletes who will be participating in the Games.

However, the latter could prove to be a problem because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has declared North Korea as non-compliant with the WADA code.

In a press release, however, the IOC said, "The IOC will explore the possibility with WADA and other parties of providing additional support to the National Olympic Committees (NOC) of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (PRK) to strengthen the fight against doping.

"The IOC has been advised by the two Korean NOCs and WADA that there is already an agreement in place with the China Anti-Doping Agency to resolve this situation as soon as possible."

The IOC's executive board will decide on their decision about Tokyo 2020 at its next meeting in Lausanne, which will be held from March 26-28.

Thomas Bach, who is president of the IOC, said, "The discussions at the working meeting are one further step showing how sport can once more make a contribution to peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world.

"We have a good foundation to build on and make further progress ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Sport will continue to build bridges and demonstrate the unifying power of the Olympic Games. Therefore, we warmly welcome the historic initiative of the two Koreas to put forward a joint Korean candidature for the Olympic Games 2032."

Do Jong Hwan, who is South Korea's Minister of Cultue, Sport and Tourism, has said that his country would "continue to work closely" with the North on a joint bid.

North Korea's NOC president and minister of Physical Culture and Sport, said he was "moved and excited by the prospect of bidding together with South Korea. We agree with the concepts put forward by South Korea, and ask for the support of President Bach and the IOC to jointly host the Olympic Games in Seoul and Pyongyang."

The Winter Olympics from last year eased tensions on the peninsula. Two months after the Games, Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In met for inter-Korea talks, which marked the first time a North Korean leader stepped foot into South Korea since the Korean War.


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