On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, the Winter Olympics commenced once again. Though it has always been the goal to focus on the games and the athletes who spend years training for this brief period to shine, this year politics has been front and center. This has been unavoidable since the setting for these games is one of the hottest spots on the globe right now; South Korea. When the Olympic Committee chose this city, it is likely they were not anticipating the flare-up with the neighbors to the North.
For the past several months, tensions between the two nations have risen steadily as the North Koreans have openly pursued their quest for nuclear weapons. In spite of severe sanctions applied by the U.S., the North has repeated test fired rockets and ramped up the heated rhetoric concerning attacking both the South and its allies, especially the United States. Some have stated that we have never been as close to a nuclear war than we are at this time. However, both North and South Korea have decided to put aside the heated words and threats, and present a rare unified contingent of athletes to celebrate the world-wide games.
This year boasts one of the largest nation participants ever recorded. A total of 92 countries have sent athletes to try and compete for the coveted gold medals. Even Nigeria has sent forth its first women’s bobsled team. Russia, who was banned from participating over doping allegations, even sent representatives to partake in the festivities. But in spite of all of these noteworthy highlights, the uniting of the two Koreas is taking center stage.
The two nations sent their athletes to the parade of nations under a single banner. There has been much mumbling about the addition of several North Korean women to the hockey team, but the president of South Korea seems bent on trying to bring peace to the chaotic world through offering an olive branch to its troublesome neighbor.
In spite of the South’s efforts to reduce tensions and promote the peace of the Winter Games, other nations have not been as welcoming to the inclusion of the North. Our own delegation included Vice-President, Mike Pence, who declined a state dinner invitation that would have brought him into close proximity with the sister of Kim Jong Un who attended in the president’s stead. Our president has declared his intentions to apply even tougher sanctions to the North in an attempt to prevent the nation from pursuing its quest to attain nuclear weapons that could strike American soil. Along with the recent rocket tests, the North held a parade where it made a show of displaying its stock pile of ICBMs.
From its inception, the Greeks attempted to celebrate human strength and accomplishments through athletic competition in the first Olympic Games. It remains to be seen if this particular strained relationship between North Korea and many of its enemies can be eased through a celebration of the human spirit rather than the rattling of weapons and rhetoric of hate.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.