The Olympics are always about the athletes, and this year is no exception — kind of. Everyone wants to know if a particular supreme leader of North Korea will be there, too. So, will Kim Jong-un be at the Olympics? He probably won’t, but his sister Kim Yo Jong will attend the opening ceremony tomorrow, February 9th.
North Korea’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are being held in South Korea, is a pretty big deal. According to Vox, North Korea hasn’t competed in the winter games for eight years, and North Koreans rarely get to leave the country. Even though Kim Jong-un won’t be at the Olympics, Kim Yo Jong will be joined by a politician named Kim Yong Nam. Both Yo Jong and Yong Nam have high, influential positions in North Korean politics, according to Buzzfeed. On Saturday, Kim Jong-un will have lunch with South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in. According to the Wall Street Journal, that lunch will mark the first meeting between the South Korean president and a member of the Kim family since 2007. So yeah, sorry sports, but international diplomacy might take a bit of your spotlight this weekend.
Also exciting is the fact that North and South Korea’s teams will march together, unified, during the opening ceremony.
The two teams will march with Korea’s unification flag
This happened in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy, and a few other times before as well.
It makes sense for the two teams to march together, though they don’t have the greatest history. Pyeongchang, South Korea — where the Olympics are being held — is just 40 miles from the North Korean border.
Not much is known about Kim Yo Jong — she generally keeps a low-profile — so her attendance at the 2018 Winter Olympics is a pretty big deal.
As for what happens during that visit to South Korea remains to be seen. Let the games begin — both politically and athletically.