Just a day before the official opening of the athletes’ village for the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, national flags of the participating countries started to be hoisted at the facility in Gangneung, Gangwon Province on Wednesday. Building No. 801, which is used by the South Korean national team, was decorated with a large placard showing the country’s national flag and the “Team Korea” logo. In major sports events such as the Olympics, athletes often put up their national flags out of their rooms.
In the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the Korean Peninsula flag for the two Koreas will likely be hung for the first time ever, as the first unified inter-Korean women’s ice hockey team is seeking to share the same quarters.
“Teamwork is key for the unified women’s ice hockey team,” said a South Korean sport official. “The team is making their best efforts to maximize the time to be spent between athletes from the two Koreas at the request by Sarah Murray, the unified team’s head coach.
The North and South Korean hockey players are having joint training after meeting on last Friday for the first time. The South Korean players stay at their quarters in Jincheon, Gangwon Province, while the North Koreans are using a guesthouse about 300 meters away. However, they are already getting along very well in such a short period of time.
Former South Korean athletes who played for unified inter-Korean teams expect that room sharing will be very effective in team building. Seo Dong-won, 45, head coach of Korea University soccer team who participated in the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship as a member of the unified inter-Korean team, recalled that players from the two Koreas found it difficult to get closer to each other because they used separate quarters when they had joint training in Seoul and Pyongyang. “But we were able to become friendly while cross-visiting the quarters while having main matches in Portugal,” he said.
Heon-Jae Lee firstname.lastname@example.org