A North-South Friendship Blossoms Among Korean Skaters

A North-South Friendship Blossoms Among Korean Skaters

North Korea did not have any athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

North Korean cheerleaders and athletes who are now joining the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea may celebrate the national anniversary with a joint ceremony in the South, he added. In one of the most competitive pairs fields in memory, North Koreans Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, the only athletes from their country to qualify for these games on merit, skated the program of their lives.

There is so much intrigue attached to everything North Korean at the Pyeongchang Olympics, so much eagerness to analyze and seek wider meaning from every act by their dignitaries, their cheering squads, and, of course, their athletes.

Baik said a North Korean taekwondo demonstration team, which is now in South Korea, will return home on Thursday following their last performance on Wednesday.

They achieved their personal best in the long program, 119.90 points, last year. They technically required special invites to compete in PyeongChang as well, as they failed to confirm their participation by the deadline and lost their spot to Japan. And they're legit good, sitting a surprising 11th after Wednesday's short program, with upside for the future. It was about them and their abilities, and it showed in the way they skated.

"We didn't reach the same level as we did as in practices", Ryom said last month, according to the International Skating Union.

"Their whole team of people and coaches and their federation, they were all so nice and so generous and so passionate about skating and passionate about competing at the Olympics for their country", Duhamel recalled in a recent interview with Sportsnet. That changed immediately when Ryom, 19, and Kim, 25, took the ice for warm-ups. At the very least, they will likely turn some heads.

Bruno Marcotte, a Canadian coach who works with the pair, told Reuters on Tuesday they had been striving for a personal best score close to 70 points in the short programme.

They then blew through the rest of the mixed zone, ignoring an official asking them to stop in front of South Korean and North American media, a handler at their back pushing them through.

Kim's birthday this year coincides with the Lunar New Year's Day, which both Koreas are observing.

The North Koreans won't shed any light on those mysteries when they perform at the Games.

It's not known who chose the song.

Instagram lit up with comments when South Korean figure skater Kam Alex Kang-chan approached Mr Kim for a selfie together earlier last week.

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