With the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang beginning in less than two weeks, new headlines are rocking the world of sports and news alike. From North Korea’s delegation to the Olympics to the drug scandals that continue to dog Russia, here are some essential headlines to keep in mind.
In an unprecedented move, North Korea has negotiated a deal with South Korea to send a delegation of athletes to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. According to some of South Korea’s high-ranking officials, North Korea agreed to send a delegation of athletes southward to compete in the Olympic games, under the assurance that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is aimed only at the United States and not at their southernmost neighbor. This sudden reversal in policy has led some high-ranking South Korean officials to dub the 2018 Olympic Games the “peace games.”
North Korea also plans on sending a cheer squad with the delegation of athletes. The South Korean Prime Minister, Lee Nak Yon, estimates that 400-500 North Koreans will be present at the Olympics, including athletes and cheerleaders. The cheer squad is composed of patriotic and attractive young women in their early twenties. Top North Korean officials handpick the members of the cheer squad from music schools, propaganda groups, and other locations. The North Korean cheerleading squad is hardly ever seen by the Western world, with many photographs of the cheerleaders being over ten years old. An expert told Business Insider that cheerleading trips tend to require a lot of training to make the cheerleaders resistant to images and ideas that are harmful to North Korea. Look for the cheerleaders in athletes in Pyeongchang to participate in the opening parade held in on February 1.
Russian Hackers Retaliate Against the International Olympic Committee’s Ban on Russian Participation in Pyeongchang
After a 17-month study conducted by the former president of Switzerland, the IOC banned Russian athletes from competing in the Winter Olympics, citing the 2014 manipulation of the Olympic drug testing laboratories in the Sochi Olympic Games, hosted by Russia. The ban, which was handed down in December, allows only select athletes chosen by the IOC to participate in the Games. This ruling also lead to the suspension of several Russian IOC members based on their involvement in the scandal. Recently, a leak occurred in several emails between the IOC and third parties has occurred. The hackers responsible for leaking the data, who are calling themselves “Fancy Bears,” were determined to be the same hackers behind the 2016 Democratic National Convention hack by a third party, claim that the emails prove that the West is scrambling for cash and international power. The IOC has released a statement to site Buzzfeed News that they do not comment on leaked documents.
The Story of United States Figure Skater Adam Rippon
Figure skater Adam Rippon, a now 28-year old Olympic rookie, took a disappointing fourth place U.S. Figure Skating Championship last week. In a hotly contested move, the U.S. Figure Skating body tapped Rippon to compete in the Winter Olympics next month along first-place and third-place Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou over second place Ross Miner, citing Rippon’s recent international performances. Rippon, who is soon to be the first gay man to represent the United States in the Winter Olympics, will also be the first American in over 80 years to compete in the Olympic Games as a rookie at his age.