The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that it has suspended North Korea’s National Olympic Committee through the end of 2022 after it chose not to participate in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
The IOC executive board’s decision bans a North Korean delegation from entering the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which begins in less than five months. The suspension also excludes the NOC from receiving financial or programmatic support from the IOC for the next 15-plus months.
North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”
The IOC statement noted that it had, “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”
The PRK NOC violated Rule 27.3 of the Olympic Charter, which includes: “Each NOC is obliged to participate in the Games of the Olympiad by sending athletes.”
Until this year, North Korea had participated in every summer Olympics since 1992 — and nearly every edition since its first appearance in 1972, save the Los Angeles 1984 Games when it was part of a boycott and the Seoul 1988 Games that were held in South Korea.
At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the North and South fielded a joint women’s ice hockey team and marched together in the Opening Ceremony.
The IOC said it would consider any North Korean athletes who qualify for next year’s Winter Olympics by name on a case-by-case basis.
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