After some two years of extreme and ever-rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a mini-rapprochement between South Korea and North Korea has been seen. On February 09, the 2018 Winter Olympics began in PyeongChang, a county in Gangwon Province of South Korea. The PyeongChang Olympic Stadium welcomed all 92 countries boasting nearly 3,000 athletes, with all eyes on the sight of North and South Korean competitors uniting to walk into the stadium together for the first time. The development has brought a thaw in ties between the both nations. The reprieve, however brief, that the event has brought to the Koreans as well as to many nations around the world is more than welcome. Achieving sustainable peace and sustainable development are critical objectives and the Games in PyeongChang offer promise of peace and prosperity.
Sports promote peace, harmony and mutual understanding among nations. Sports provide a useful way of creating an environment in which people can come together to work toward the same goal, show respect for others and share space and equipment. Participation in sports encourages political, economic and social dialogue among countries to diffuse mutual tensions and build a strong and durable relationship. Among all sports, Olympics provides a unique opportunity to the global community to enhance interaction among its members.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games attract people from around the world and help reinforce a set of unifying objectives. The goal of Olympism, as the Olympic Charter states, is “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity”.
The Olympic spirit allows people to be together, from all over the world, to respect each other, to assert the values of tolerance, of mutual understanding that are the basic elements for peace to be possible. One such momentous event was held in South Korean city of PyeongChang where 33rd Winter Olympics – the event ran from 9 to 25 February 2018 with certain events being held prior to the official opening ceremony – have acted as a tool to bridge differences between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), also called North Korea.
The Winter Olympics 2018 has already delivered an unexpected geopolitical dividend. The symbolism of this opening ceremony was impossible to miss. So much of the show’s message of peace was crafted before it was known that North Korea would attend the Games, and then the opportunity arose to incorporate something deeper that could be hoped for. When Korea marched, they all dressed alike and waved the same flag, and one couldn’t tell who was the North or the South Korean anymore.
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