IOC and Korean nations agree pathway for participation as unified team at Tokyo 2020

North and South Korea also confirm intent to make joint bid to host 2032 Olympics at meeting in Lausanne

North and South Korea are a step closer to competing as a unified team in some sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after a pathway for their inclusion was agreed with the International Olympic Committee.

The announcement came following a meeting of North and South Korean officials hosted by the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday (15th February). It was also confirmed that the two nations intend to put forward a joint bid to host the Olympic games in 2032.

President Bach described Friday's meeting as "one further step showing how sport can once more make a contribution to peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world,” according to an IOC press release, adding: “We have a good foundation to build on and make further progress ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Sport will continue to build bridges and demonstrate the unifying power of the Olympic Games."

"We warmly welcome the historic initiative of the two Koreas to put forward a joint Korean candidature for the Olympic Games 2032.” - Thomas Bach, IOC President

Pathway to Participation

The Korean delegations at the tripartite meeting were composed of representatives of their respective National Olympic Committees and governments. They discussed with the IOC the format and pathway for the participation of several unified Korean teams, made up of athletes from both nations, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Principles guiding such unified Korean teams by sport and discipline were agreed. It was decided that participation in the 2020 Games would be based on successful qualification in those sports and disciplines.

The IOC also announced that it had agreed to continue studying, in particular with the respective International Federations, the request of the NOCs of South Korea (KOR) and North Korea (PRK) for unified Korean teams to take part in qualification for the following events:

  1. Women’s basketball
  2. Women’s hockey
  3. Judo - mixed team event
  4. Rowing - women’s & men’s in the fours, quadruple sculls, and eights.

These discussions will be based on the agreement that any unified Korean team will follow the established qualification system established for Tokyo 2020.

There are still ongoing talks between the NOCs of KOR and PRK and their governments on possible additional unified Korean teams in other sports. The IOC informed them that it will consider further requests if these are made in due time ahead of the Olympic qualification competitions.

We Are One

The news comes one-year after Korean athletes provided one of the most emotional moments of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, marching into the Opening Ceremony together behind the Korean unification flag. IOC President Thomas Bach identified that moment as his most memorable of the Games.

Ice hockey players from the two nations also competed together as a unified team during the Games.

The emotional journey of how the team came together is revealed in the Olympic Channel original documentary We Are One. Watch here:

Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends!