LAUSANNE: The two Koreas will march under the same ‘unification flag’ at the Opening Ceremony of next month’s Winter Olympic Games with 22 competitors from the North joining in the team from the South.

These steps were announced by Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, after meeting delegation from the two national Olympic committees of the neighbouring states ahead of next month’s GAmes in PyeongChang.

An ‘Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration’ was signed by the NOCs, the IOC and the PyeongChang organising committee.

An IOC statement said:

  • The IOC will grant accreditations to the NOC of the DPRK for 22 athletes, 24 officials and 21 media representatives.
  • The IOC approves the request of the NOCs of ROK and DPRK to have their delegations marching together as one under the name “Korea” at the Opening Ceremony. The delegation will be led into the Olympic Stadium by the Korean Unification Flag, carried by two athletes, one from each NOC. There will be one female and one male athlete flagbearer. The delegation will wear a special uniform with the Korean Unification Flag (see Annex B). The acronym for the team will be “COR”.
  • Unified Women’s Ice Hockey Team: The IOC has decided to allow the two National Olympic Committees, for the first time in their Olympic history, to form a unified team in a sport. This unified women’s ice hockey team is created by adding 12 players and one official from the NOC of the DPRK to the existing ROK Olympic squad of 23 players. With respect to fair play and the other competing teams, only 22 players will be entitled to play in each game, as is the rule for all participating teams. The head coach, responsible for the selection of the players, will be the ROK coach. The head coach will at each match select at least three players from the NOC of the DPRK for the team. The unified women’s ice hockey team will be represented by the Korean Unification Flag and will compete as Korea, with the anthem being the song “Arirang”. The acronym for the team will be “COR”. In all other sports, the athletes will compete for their respective NOC in their respective uniforms.
  • Figure Skating: The IOC allocated an additional quota place, after the registration deadline had expired, to the qualified figure skating pair (RYOM Tae-ok and KIM Ju-sik) from the NOC of the DPRK.
  • Short Track Speed Skating: The IOC allocated two additional quota places to the NOC of the DPRK in short track speed skating to allow two male athletes (JONG Kwang-bom – 1500m and CHOE Un-song – 500m) to compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
  • Cross-Country Skiing: The IOC allocated three additional quota places to the NOC of the DPRK to allow two male athletes (HAN Chun-gyong – 15km freestyle and PAK Il-chol – 15km freestyle) and one female athlete (RI Yong-gum – 10km freestyle) to compete in PyeongChang.
  • Alpine Skiing: The IOC allocated three additional quota places to the NOC of DPRK to allow two male athletes (CHOE Myong-gwang and KANG Song-il) and one female athlete (KIM Ryon-hyang) to compete in PyeongChang. All three athletes will compete in both the Giant Slalom and Slalom events. 
  • Any necessary technical equipment will be provided to the athletes by the IOC in cooperation with the International Federations, and will be made available on site.

Bach said: “The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope.

“The Olympic Games show us what the world could look like, if we were all guided by the Olympic spirit of respect and understanding. This is the Olympic message that will go from PyeongChang to the world.”