Are North Koreans at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang?

By Daniel Rapaport
February 07, 2018

North Koreans by and large aren't allowed to leave the country, but the reclusive nation does let its citizens leave to compete in notable athletic competitions. The Olympics qualifies. 

Athletes from North Korea will be allowed to cross the usually off-limits demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Interestingly enough, they'll be competing with South Korean athletes under the joint Korean flag, an effort that could symbolize a potential easing of tensions between the two nations. 

This isn't the first time North Korea has participated in major athletic competitions—the nation has sent athletes to every Summer Olympics since 1972 and, including PyeongChang, eight of the last 13 Winter Games. 

In 2010, the men's soccer national team qualified for the 2010 World Cup but existed after the group stage after losing all three matches. In that tournament, the government reportedly hired Chinese people to pretend to be fans of the team. Whether that happens again in PyeongChang is anyone's guess. 

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