North Korea will send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, following the country’s first formal talks with South Korea in more than two years.
Between a testy relationship with South Korea and a complicated past with the Olympics, it was unclear whether North Korean President Kim Jong Un would allow the athletes to attend the games prior to the talks between the two countries on Tuesday. North Korea boycotted the last Olympics held in South Korea, the 1988 games in Seoul. The country also missed the International Olympic Committee’s deadline to register its team for this year’s games (the committee extended its deadline in an effort to get North Korea to sign up).
The North Korean Olympic delegation will include athletes, high-ranking officials and a cheering squad. Two North Korean athletes have qualified for the 2018 Olympics — the figure skating duo Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified for the event last September without knowing whether their country would even allow them to compete in the games.
The 2018 Winter Olympics kick off in Peyongchang, South Korea, which beat out Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France to become the venue. The Olympic games begin on Feb. 8, 2018 and go through Feb. 25, 2018.
Look back at North Korea’s performance in past Olympic Games below.
When was the last time North Korea competed in the Olympics?
North Korea’s announcement that its athletes can compete in the Olympic Games in South Korea is an optimistic sign for relations between the two countries. But while North Korea boycotted a prior Olympics held in Seoul along with the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the country has a rich history of competing in other Olympic Games over the years.
The last Olympic Games North Korea participated in was the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. North Korea has competed in the Olympics since 1964, when it participated in the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. The next time North Korea competed was in 1972, at the Summer Olympics in Munich.
Since 1972, North Korea has participated in every Summer Olympics, excluding the two games it boycotted. North Korea has competed in the Winter Olympics off and on since 1964, including participation in the 1984, 1988, 1992, 1998, 2006 and 2010 games. North Korea did not send any competitors to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
How many Olympic medals has North Korea won?
North Korea has earned dozens of medals since participating in the Olympics since 1964. So far, North Korea has earned 56 medals in total, 16 of which are gold, according to the BBC. North Korea has won medals mostly in the Summer Olympics, including 17 total medals for weightlifting, 10 for wrestling and eight for boxing. In the Winter Olympics, North Korea has won two medals, for speed skating and short track speed skating.
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