Koreas to discuss unified 2020 Olympic gymnastics team, report says

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South Korea’s gymnastics federation plans to talk with North Korean officials about fielding a unified 2020 Olympic gymnastics team during next month’s world championships, according to Yonhap News Agency.

It would be the latest in a series of inter-Korean moves in Olympic sports this year, beginning with the joint Olympic women’s hockey team in PyeongChang.

The two nations also marched together in the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony behind the Korea Unification flag. Last month, they fielded joint canoeing, rowing and women’s basketball teams at the Asian Games.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In said in a statement that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics, and they would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, without elaborating.

In artistic gymnastics, South Korea has qualified men’s teams to the last seven Olympics, while North Korea last had a team at the 1980 Moscow Games. North Korea has the reigning Olympic vault champion, Ri Se-Gwang.

Neither North Korea nor South Korea had a full women’s team at any of the last three Olympics.

However in Rio, South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-Ju took a selfie with North Korean Hong Un-Jong as they trained for competition. The photo captured global headlines, and IOC president Thomas Bach described it as a “great gesture.”

The 2020 Olympic gymnastics team event fields will include 12 for the men and 12 for the women, with qualifying beginning at next month’s worlds in Doha.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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North, South Korea agree to joint bid to host 2032 Olympics

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North Korea and South Korea agreed Tuesday to place a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics, according to the Associated Press.

South Korea hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and the two nations marched under one flag at the opening ceremony.

The countries have had a tenuous relationship over the past 70 years, but there have been diplomatic breakthroughs recently.

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea President Moon Jae-in are taking part in a summit that began Tuesday, per Joshua Berlinger, Sophie Jeong and Yoonjung Seo of CNN.

The possibility of a joint bid was raised last week, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“It’s a proposal of hosting the events in Seoul and Pyongyang,” South Korea sports minister Do Jong-hwan said.

“The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics showed the Olympic values very well,” Do added. “I hope peace in Northeast Asia can continue through sports.”

Though joint bids for the Olympics aren’t common, Italy had planned to make a three-city bid until it fell through.

The International Olympic Committee has provided Asian countries more hosting opportunities as of late, with the 2020 Summer Olympics set for Tokyo and Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

A successful Korean bid would up the tally to four sets of Games on the continent in 14 years.

North, South Korea to field joint teams in 3 sports at Asian Games

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The Olympic Council of Asia says North and South Korea will field combined teams in three sports — canoeing, rowing and women’s basketball — at the Asian Games in the latest sign of cooperation between the countries.

The Koreas will also march together at the opening and closing ceremonies at the games in Indonesia from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

Ties between the neighbors have improved since the PyeongChang Olympics in South Korea in February, when the nations marched together in the Opening Ceremony and fielded a unified women’s hockey team.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed at a summit in April to jointly participate in international sports events.

Vinod Kumar Tiwari, the OCA director of international and National Olympic Committee relations, says on Thursday, “This will be an historic Asian Games for the Olympic Council of Asia and for the continent because it will be the first time that North Korea and South Korea will form a unified team in certain sports.

“They have marched together before in the opening ceremony, and we are delighted that they are extending their joint cooperation further in the spirit of unity and friendship.”

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