By The Spotter
It was an unpredictable outcome about which the incorrigible ego-maniac Trump somehow tried to take credit for. And it is an outcome that should by rights be the international sports and possibly even political story of 2018 (admittedly with eleven months remaining)- the decision taken to bring the separated Korean nations together for the march into the stadium at the opening ceremony, and to play as one nation in the Women’s Ice Hockey competition at the Winter Olympic Games next month.
No words will do justice to the emotions which will prevail when the two Koreas enter the stadium at Pyeong Chang after all the other nations have passed through. It isn’t the first time it has happened, however- this was the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics:
(it looks longer ago).
The big difference is that this time it is on home ground. Whether such a thing will make a tangible or discernible difference to any peace accord of some permanence is absolutely unknown, but aside from what may or may not transpire in the future that exact moment will be very powerful indeed. And certainly highly symbolic of at least good intentions.
Of possibly even greater magnitude is the combined ice hockey team. Is that a literal and symbolic ‘thawing’ of international relations between the North and the South? What ever you think about the modern history of the Olympic organisation with all its excesses, mega billions and oft-past corrupt practices, if something incredible comes out of this Winter Games and the long road to an eventual reunification begins, then this Games would surely stand atop the metaphorical dias as its best-ever success politically. And it would mean the wheel had turned full circle since the days of the huge boycotts of the 1976*, 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics.
To appreciate why a combined sports team is most likely very significant step in the right direction for a cooling of recent boiling tensions, is to also appreciate that the whole of Korea is a place with a tragic past. It is a country that ideologically tore itself apart after 1950; a country that was ruled unmercifully by the Japanese for many years, up to and including World War Two. A country whose athletes suffered awful punishments if they refused to compete under the Japanese flag at the Olympics. And a country that was once so poverty-stricken and malnourished that foods were purposely garnished with spicy extras like Kimchi (fermented spiced cabbage) in order to make them barely palatable.
For a handy overview of what actually transpired to drive the Korea’s apart, take a little time to have a look at this vid:
I hope the goodwill carries on because lord only knows those two nations deserve it. And Trump- just pee off, go play golf with your cronies, and leave them to get on with it; there’s a good man.
-Paul M, alias ‘The Spotter’: email@example.com
*Retrospectively, to New Zealand’s eternal embarrassment, the African nations’ boycott of the ‘76 Summer Olympics came about due to the pig-headed insistence of our Rugby Union (with the Government’s blessing), on the All Blacks going to South Africa, a country at that time in probably its fiercest, severest grip on apartheid. You can’t really blame the NZ public for watching, but how on earth could those in charge here have let it happen? They would have known full well about the violence and persecution of that time, but misguidedly chose to turn a blind eye. A terrible error of judgment. The only positive Rugby-wise to come out of that tour was Joe Morgan’s iconic try at Bloemfontein.