Russia Banned From Olympics, World Cup Over Doping

Russia Flag

 

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned Russia for four years from major global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, over manipulated doping data.

WADA’s executive committee, meeting in Lausanne, handed Russia the four-year suspension after accusing Moscow of falsifying laboratory doping data handed over to investigators earlier this year.

Not only will Russia be ruled out of the next Olympic cycle, but Russian government officials will be barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host, or even bid, for tournaments.

“WADA’s executive committee approved unanimously to assert a non-compliance on the Russian anti-doping agency for a period of four years,” WADA spokesman James Fitzgerald said.

Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics but only if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.

It will be up to FIFA to stipulate how a team of Russian players can take part in the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup.

Euro 2020, in which the Russian city of Saint Petersburg will host four matches, is not affected by the ban because it is not defined as a “major event” for anti-doping purposes.

“They are going to have prove they had nothing to do with the non-compliance, (that) they were not involved in the doping schemes as described by the McLaren report, or they did not have their samples affected by the manipulation,” Fitzgerald said.

The independent report by sports lawyer Richard McLaren, released in 2016, revealed the significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011 and 2015.

It led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being suspended for nearly three years previously over revelations of a vast state-supported doping programme.

Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia’s controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.

 ‘A tragedy’ 

RUSADA chief Yury Ganus told AFP Monday that his country had “no chance” of winning an appeal against the ban, dubbing it tragic for clean athletes.

“There is no chance of winning this case in court,” Ganus said, with RUSADA’s supervisory board set to meet on December 19 to take a decision on whether to appeal the ban.

“This is a tragedy,” he added. “Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited.”

The WADA decision was widely predicted, with the body’s president, Craig Reedie, having made a presentation Saturday to the Olympic Summit, participants of which “strongly condemned those responsible for the manipulation of the data from the Moscow laboratory”.

“It was agreed that this was an attack on sport and that these actions should lead to the toughest sanctions against those responsible,” the IOC said, asking that the Russian authorities deliver the “fully authenticated raw data”.

Positive doping tests contained in data leaked by a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the laboratory data supplied in January 2019, which prompted a new inquiry.

Former WADA president Dick Pound, who chaired the commission that in 2015 made damning accusations of mass doping in Russian athletics, said Moscow had this time gone “too far”.

“The IOC is a little bit tired about what Russia has been doing and so I see the IOC probably focusing more on athletes who are newer,” Pound told AFP.

Pound acknowledged the influential role of Russia — which in recent years hosted the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as well as the football World Cup in 2018 — “on many levels” in the sporting world.

“On the field of play, it is a big, important country. With China and the United States, it’s among the sporting giants, so that’s influential,” he said.

“It’s (also) influential because Russia hosts and is willing to host many competitions for international federations, especially those who don’t have much money of their own, so they have a considerable influence among the international federations.

“And they’ve been quite strategic about making sure that they get Russians into positions on international federations. So they have an impact from inside as well as from outside.”

1948 Olympics Cycling Champion Jacques Dupont Dies Aged 91

File Photo: AFP

 

French cyclist Jacques Dupont, who won a gold medal at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, has died at the age of 91, his family announced on Monday.

Dupont, who was born and died in the village of Lezat sur Leze in the south-west of France, achieved his gold medal at the Herne Hill Velodrome on August 11, 1948.

The aged 20, Dupont eclipsed the field in the 1000 metre time trial, beating Belgian Pierre Nihant by one second. The Briton Tommy Godwin took the bronze.

Two days later Dupont was back in the saddle for the road race which doubled as an individual and team event.

Dupont could only manage 17th in the individual but helped the French take bronze in the team event alongside Jose Beyaert and Alain Moineau.

The Belgians took gold without realising it and only received their medals in 2010 — 62 years later.

Dupont turned professional, winning the French championship in 1954 and the prestigious Paris-Tours in 1951 and 1955.

China Chooses Panda As Winter Olympics Mascot

Children wearing panda costumes dance during the official reveal of the mascots for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games at Shougang Ice Hockey Arena, Shougang Park, Shijingshan District, Beijing in September 17, 2019. NOEL CELIS / AFP

 

China has chosen its most iconic animal — the panda — to be the official mascot of the Beijing Olympics in 2022, the Winter Games organising committee announced on Tuesday.

The mascot, named “Bing Dwen Dwen,” is a chubby giant panda wearing a suit of ice.

The black and white bear has a “heart of gold and a love of all things winter sports,” tweeted the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

For the Paralympic Winter Games, the mascot is a blushing red lantern named “Shuey Rhon Rhon.”

Beijing will be the first city to host both summer and winter Games, after winning the bid in 2015, beating out underdog Almaty.

The Chinese capital held the summer Olympics in 2008 in what was then seen as China sealing its place on the world stage as an emerging superpower.

Beijing will have to rely on widespread use of artificial snow for the Winter Games, and has said it will budget $1.5 billion for investment in Olympic villages, sports venues, and other infrastructure.

The country is also building a high-speed train link from Beijing to Zhangjiakou, a city northwest of the capital where many mountain events will be held.

Some of Beijing’s 2008 venues, however, including its iconic Bird’s Nest national stadium, will be reused for the 2022 Games.

AFP

Team Nigeria depart for Special Olympics World Summer Games

 

Nigeria’s contingent to the Special Olympics World Summer Games has departed Lagos for the multi-sport event which is scheduled to start on March 14 in Abu Dhabi and end on March 21.

The team which is made up of 60 athletes and 18 coaches will compete in 8 Olympic-type sports; Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Table-tennis, Volleyball, Swimming and Cycling. They will also be accompanied by caregivers and medical personnel.

Abu Dhabi 2019 will be Nigeria’s 5th appearance at the world summer games after featuring at the Ireland, China, Greece and USA events.

More than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will compete in 24 summer sports, along with 2,500 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.

This will be the first Special Olympics World Games to be hosted the Middle East/North Africa region.

The 2019 World Games will kick off with a star-studded Opening Ceremony in the iconic Zayed Sports City Stadium in the heart of Abu Dhabi which the largest sports venue in the Persian Gulf.

In addition to sports, the 2019 World Games will also feature non-sports activities and programs, including Unified Sports experiences, free Healthy Athletes screenings, Global Youth Leadership Summit, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Semenya Takes Gender Rule Challenge To Sports Court

Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya of South Africa went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday to challenge proposed rules that could force her to lower her testosterone levels.

 

Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya of South Africa went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday to challenge proposed rules that could force her to lower her testosterone levels.

Semenya made no comment as she arrived at the court in Lausanne for the start of a week-long hearing that could define the rest of the 28-year-old’s career.

The South African government has said the rules set out by track and field’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), specifically target Semenya and has called them a “gross violation” of her human rights.

The controversial measures would force so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) to take drugs to lower their testosterone levels below a prescribed amount if they wish to continue competing.

The rules were to have been introduced last November but have been put on hold pending this week’s hearings. A judgement is expected at the end of March.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe, arriving at the court, said: “Today is a very, very important day.

“The regulations that we are introducing are there to protect the sanctity of fair and open competition.”

The chief advocate for Athletics South Africa, Norman Arendse, said Semenya would give evidence.

“The whole week is going to be important. Obviously the evidence will be evaluated and assessed at the end of the process this week. so today this is the start,” he told reporters.

The issue is highly emotive.

When British newspaper The Times reported last week that the IAAF would argue that Semenya should be classified as a biological male — a claim later denied by the IAAF — she hit back, saying she was “unquestionably a woman”.

In response to the report, the IAAF — stressing it was referring in general terms, not to Semenya in particular — denied it intended to classify any DSD athlete as male.

But in a statement, it added: “If a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women.

“Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level.”

Navratilova support

Semenya is not the only athlete potentially affected — the silver and bronze medallists in the Rio Olympics 800m, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui, have also faced questions about their testosterone levels.

But it is Semenya, who also won Olympic gold in 2012 and has three world titles to her name, who has led opposition to the proposed rules.

Matthieu Reeb, CAS Secretary General, said the case was highly unusual.

“It is unusual and unprecedented because we never had such a case at CAS,” he said. “What is going to happen I am not able to say, but it is going to be important for sure.”

South Africa’s Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa argues that the rules are “discriminatory”.

“What’s at stake here is far more than the right to participate in a sport. Women’s bodies, their wellbeing, their ability to earn a livelihood, their very identity, their privacy and sense of safety and belonging in the world, are being questioned,” Xasa said on Friday.

On Sunday, tennis great Martina Navratilova threw her weight behind Semenya.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles winner said it was significant that the rules would only apply to female athletes competing in distances from 400m to a mile.

“Leaving out sprints and longer distances seems to me to be a clear case of discrimination by targeting Semenya,” Navratilova wrote in Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.

“And can it be right to order athletes to take medication? What if the long-term effects proved harmful?… I hope she wins.”

North, South Korea To Hold Talks This Month On Joint Olympic Bid

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (L) shaking hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong. AFP

North and South Korea will discuss the details for their planned joint bid for the 2032 Olympics later this month to follow up on an ambitious agreement reached between their leaders in September.

The radical concept, which would require an unprecedented level of cooperation and mutual trust on the long-divided Korean peninsula, was included in a joint statement issued after a September summit between the North’s leader Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang.

“The South and North agreed to … discuss the issue of South-North joint hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympics around the end of the month at the joint liaison office,” read a joint statement issued after a high-level meeting Monday.

No further details were given.

Pyongyang boycotted the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics after it demanded co-hosting rights and negotiations fell apart over how to share the events, but its decision to participate in this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games triggered a dramatic diplomatic turnaround on the peninsula.

It came after tensions mounted the previous year, with the North carrying out multiple missile launches and its most powerful nuclear test to date, and Kim trading personal insults and threats of war with US President Donald Trump.

The February Games saw athletes from the two Koreas march together at the opening ceremony behind a unification flag showing an undivided peninsula, and the first unified Olympic team, in women’s ice hockey.

Kim sent his sister Kim Yo Jong to Pyeongchang as his personal envoy, and the two leaders have since met three times as part of an ongoing diplomatic rapprochement.

The two Koreas have continued their sports diplomacy, forming joint teams for the ITTF world table tennis championships and several events at the Asian Games in Indonesia as well as holding friendly basketball matches.

North Korea’s participation in hosting the Summer Games, which include thousands of athletes from around the world and an even larger number of spectators, would be a watershed event requiring a degree of openness and financial muscle now lacking in the isolated and impoverished country.

It would also force an extraordinary level of cooperation between two Cold War foes that have no formal avenues for regular contact and are still technically at war.

AFP

Britain’s 2012 Olympics Minister Dies Of Brain Cancer

In this file photo taken on May 15, 2003 Britain’s Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport Tessa Jowell speaks at a press conference at the City Hall in London, to announce the British bid for the 2012 Olympics. Martin HAYHOW / AFP

 

Tessa Jowell, the minister who played a key role in securing and delivering the, has died after battling brain cancer, her family said Sunday.

Jowell played a major part in landing the Games as Britain’s culture secretary. She then became the UK’s dedicated Olympics minister charged with bringing the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza to fruition.

Jowell, 70, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May last year, suffered a haemorrhage on Friday, and had been in a coma until her death on Saturday, a family spokesman said.

She moved fellow parliamentarians to tears — and a rarely-seen standing ovation — in January when, visibly ill, she returned to her seat in the House of Lords to call for cancer patients to have better access to experimental treatment.

Former prime minister Tony Blair said she was “the most wise of counsellors, the most loyal and supportive of colleagues, and the best of friends”.

“What she achieved was remarkable,” he said of her career in government.

“She brought the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to London, and ensured their success.”

London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe said: “Quite simply, without Tessa there would have been no London 2012, and without Tessa they would not have been the success they were.

“No politician deserves greater credit for the Games.”

Long after London 2012 finished, she continued to fight for their legacy and without her, Britain’s sporting landscape would look very different, he added.

– ‘All of us, for longer’ –

Jowell entered parliament in 1992 and was one of Blair’s most trusted colleagues in government from 1997.

She convinced many unsure colleagues about the merits of bidding for the 2012 Olympics.

She stood to be Labour’s candidate for mayor of London in 2016 but lost out to Sadiq Khan.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The dignity and courage with which Dame Tessa Jowell confronted her illness was humbling and it was inspirational.”

Jowell concluded her moving January speech in parliament by saying: “In the end, what gives a life meaning is not only how it is lived, but how it draws to a close.

“I hope that this debate will give hope to other cancer patients like me. So that we can live well together with cancer, not just dying of it. All of us, for longer.”

Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics Medals Table

(FILE PHOTO) The Olympics rings during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. PHOTO: François-Xavier MARIT / AFP

 

 

Final medals table after the 16th and last day of competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Sunday (gold, silver, bronze, total):

Norway 14 14 11 39

Germany 14 10 7 31

Canada 11 8 10 29

United States 9 8 6 23

Netherlands 8 6 6 20

Sweden 7 6 1 14

South Korea 5 8 4 17

Switzerland 5 6 4 15

France 5 4 6 15

Austria 5 3 6 14

Japan 4 5 4 13

Italy 3 2 5 10

Olympic Athlete from Russia 2 6 9 17

Czech Republic 2 2 3 7

Belarus 2 1 0 3

China 1 6 2 9

Slovakia 1 2 0 3

Finland 1 1 4 6

Great Britain 1 0 4 5

Poland 1 0 1 2

Hungary 1 0 0 1

Ukraine 1 0 0 1

Australia 0 2 1 3

Slovenia 0 1 1 2

Belgium 0 1 0 1

New Zealand 0 0 2 2

Spain 0 0 2 2

Kazakhstan 0 0 1 1

Latvia 0 0 1 1

Liechtenstein 0 0 1 1

AFP

United States, South Korea Korea To Go Ahead With Olympic-Delayed Drills

US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In during a joint press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.
Jim WATSON / AFP

 

The United States and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills after the Paralympics, both of them confirmed Tuesday, despite the exercises always infuriating Pyongyang and the Olympics having driven a rapprochement on the peninsula.

Washington previously agreed to a request from Seoul to delay the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises —  which usually begin in late February or early March — until after the Pyeongchang Games in the South, to try to avoid stoking tensions.

The Olympics have since seen a charm offensive by Pyongyang, which dispatched athletes, cheerleaders and its leader’s sister Kim Yo Jong to attend the Games.

She passed on Kim Jong Un’s invitation to the South’s President Moon Jae-in to come to a summit in Pyongyang — which he did not immediately accept, saying the right conditions were needed first.

Analysts say the Games-driven bonhomie on the peninsula may not last long once the sporting festivals are over, particularly once Key Resolve, a command post drill, and the Foal Eagle theatre-level field exercise begin.

The start date will be announced by the two allies between the end of the Paralympics on March 18 and the beginning of April, Seoul’s defence minister Song Young-moo was quoted as telling the National Assembly by a ministry spokesman.

A US Forces Korea spokesman confirmed the position to AFP. “The date for the postponed exercises — Key Resolve and Foal Eagle —  will be announced after the Paralympics,” he said. “The exercises have been postponed, not scrapped.”

General Vincent K. Brooks, who commands the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea, last week told the US House Armed Services Committee that joint drills were “essential” to “deter North Korean aggression”.

Military tensions often run high during the exercises, with the North carrying out its own counter-drills against what it condemns as rehearsals for a war.

Pyongyang says it needs its nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion by the US.

The North’s KCNA news agency on Monday accused the US of seeking to torpedo the reconciliatory mood by resuming the exercises.

“Trump and his clique are racketeering to nip peace in the bud that started sprouting on the Korean peninsula,” KCNA said in a commentary.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has previously said the drills would go ahead after the end of the Paralympics.

AFP

Ghanaian Olympian ‘Feels Like A Gold Medallist’ Despite Taking Last Place

Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong looks on at the end of the mens’s skeleton heat 3 run during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang. MOHD RASFAN / AFP

Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong finished last in his Olympic debut but was a smash-hit nonetheless with his plucky efforts in the crackpot sliding sport of skeleton on Friday.

The 32-year-old, who spent two years selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door to finance his unlikely journey to Pyeongchang, now can’t wait to take a deserved break and go lie on a beach.

“I’m going to take my wife on vacation,” Frimpong told AFP.

“I don’t know where yet, but somewhere warm — I want the sun and the sand. Hopefully I can surprise her by taking her somewhere like Hawaii. Or maybe the Dominican Republic, where we went on honeymoon.”

Despite freezing temperatures Frimpong has lit up the Olympic skeleton competition.

He trailed home in 30th position — over 11 seconds behind eventual winner Yun Sung-bin of South Korea after his third and final run — but still felt like a champion.

“I came last but the most important thing is that I won the hearts of the people,” said Frimpong, who previously failed to qualify for the Olympics as a sprinter and in bobsleigh.

“The Olympic experience was awesome. I’ve never been in a place where so many people are cheering you on,” he added after becoming only the second athlete from Ghana to compete at a Winter Games.

“You feel like you’re a gold medallist, that’s how they make you feel each run. It’s incredible.”

Ghana’s Akwasi Frimpong hugs his coach at the end of the mens’s skeleton heat 3 run during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, at the Olympic Sliding Centre on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang.
MOHD RASFAN / AFP

Frimpong smiled sheepishly when asked what it feels like to throw oneself off an icy mountain head-first at 125kph (77mph) on what looks, to the casual observer at least, like a glorified baking tray.

Little Bit Crazy

“You definitely have to be a little bit crazy,” he laughed. “But it’s also about chasing the unknown. You gotta try something different — life is all about trial and error.”

Watched by his wife Erica and their 10-month-old daughter Ashanti, Frimpong’s appearance triggered a huge roar from Korean fans, as well as a vocal, flag-waving group of supporters from his native Ghana.

“It was such an emotional moment for me because I remember in July 2015 my wife told me she didn’t want me to be 99 years old and still chasing my Olympic dream,” said Frimpong, who moved to the Netherlands when he was just eight.

“My wife wanted me to go after it and without her support and her pushing me, doing two, three jobs while she was pregnant, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Before following in the footsteps of Ghana’s “Snow Leopard” Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, who competed in slalom skiing at the 2010 Vancouver Games, Frimpong struggled to convince sponsors he was serious about skeleton.

But after becoming one of the biggest stars of the Pyeongchang Olympics, adrenaline junkie Frimpong already craves more.

“I still have a lot to improve on,” he said. “I came last but it doesn’t matter. I’ve only been doing it for a year and a half.

“The rest of the world doesn’t understand the work you have to do behind the scenes,” added Frimpong.

“But I know what it takes to get here and I’m just really eager and excited for the next four years.”

South Korea President Watches Concert With Kim Jong Un’s Sister

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong (C) as they watch a concert of Pyongyang’s Samjiyon Orchestra at a national theatre in Seoul on February 11, 2018. South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat next to the powerful sister of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un at a concert in Seoul by musicians from Pyongyang, as conservative protesters burned the North’s national flag outside Sunday.
YONHAP / AFP

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat next to the powerful sister of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un at a concert in Seoul by musicians from Pyongyang, as conservative protesters burned the North’s national flag outside Sunday.

The show was the final set-piece element of the North Korean delegation’s landmark visit, the diplomatic highlight of the Olympics-driven rapprochement between the two halves of the peninsula, and they flew back home afterwards.

They have shared kimchi and soju with Moon, sat in the same box at the Olympics opening ceremony and cheered a unified women’s ice hockey team together.

Kim on Saturday invited Moon to a summit in the North, an offer extended by his sister and special envoy Kim Yo Jong, who made history as the first member of the North’s ruling dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War.

Moon did not immediately accept the invitation and has said he hopes the “right conditions” will be created so it can go ahead.

Pictures showed Yo Jong seated between Moon and the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, who is officially leading the North’s delegation, and applauding at Sunday’s concert.

The show by Pyongyang’s Samjiyon Orchestra featured a surprise appearance by Seohyun, of top South Korean K-pop girlband Girls Generation. It was part of a cross-border deal in which the isolated nuclear-armed North sent hundreds of athletes, cheerleaders and others to the Pyeongchang Winter Games in the South.

At an earlier dinner with senior Seoul officials, Yo Jong said she found the two Koreas still had much in common despite decades of separation.

Before flying south, she said, she had expected “things would be very different and unfamiliar”, according to a statement from Moon’s office.

“But it turned out that there were many things similar and in common,” she went on. “I hope that the day we become one will be brought forward.”

But the rapprochement pushed by the dovish Moon has angered conservatives, who accuse him of being a North Korea sympathiser and undermining the security alliance with the US.

“Having these red communists in the heart of Seoul is an utter humilation!” one shouted near the venue as dozens of others waved banners condemning both Moon and Kim Jong Un.

“We are against the ugly political Olympics!” read one banner.

Some set a North Korean flag on fire before police intervened, and others chanted “Let’s tear Kim Jong Un to death!” as they ripped up posters bearing his portrait.

The North’s presence has dominated the headlines in the early days of the Olympics, with all eyes turning to Swiss-educated Kim Yo Jong, believed to be 30, who is among her brother’s closest confidantes.

Political divide 

Sunday’s 100-minute concert — the orchestra’s second and final show — included about 40 songs, among them South Korean pop hits as well as North Korean and other world music.

Seoul’s TV shows and K-pop songs are smuggled across the border with China and known to be popular among many North Koreans despite the risk of severe punishment.

At one point Hyon Song Wol, the leader of the North’s popular Moranbong girlband, took the stage to perform a unification-themed song.

Public interest in the show was huge, with nearly 120,000 people applying for just 1,000 tickets.

Civilian contact is strictly banned between the two Koreas, which have been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Tensions soared last year as the North staged a series of nuclear and missile tests in violation of UN resolutions, while leader Kim and US President Donald Trump traded colourful insults and threats of war.

Moon has long sought engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, and for months has promoted Pyeongchang as a “peace Olympics”.

But controversy over the North’s participation — particularly the formation of a unified women’s ice hockey team, seen as unfairly denying Seoul’s own citizens a chance to compete on the Olympic stage — has hit his approval ratings.

Many older South Koreans on both sides of the political divide harbour a nostalgic longing for some form of reunification — conservatives through the North’s collapse, liberals through a more amicable arrangement.

But younger South Koreans have spent their adult lives in a culturally vibrant democracy regularly menaced and occasionally attacked by Pyongyang. They have far less interest in unification and fear its social and economic consequences.

A poll last year found almost 50 percent of over-60s believed the two Koreas can be reunified, while just 20.5 percent of those in their 20s agreed.

AFP

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Medal Table

The Olympics rings during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. PHOTO: François-Xavier MARIT / AFP

 

Medals after the second day of competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Sunday (gold, silver, bronze, total):

Germany 3 0 1 4

Netherlands 2 2 1 5

Norway 1 4 3 8

United States 1 1 0 2

Austria 1 0 0 1

France 1 0 0 1

South Korea 1 0 0 1

Sweden 1 0 0 1

Canada 0 3 1 4

Czech Republic 0 1 1 2

Finland 0 0 1 1

Italy 0 0 1 1

Kazakhstan 0 0 1 1

Olympic Athletes from Russia 0 0 1 1

AFP