September 17, 2021

North Korea and the Olympic Games

North Korea has a complex history with the Olympic Games but performances remain impressive

North Korea joined the Olympic movement quite late in the game. While South Korean athletes first competed in 1948, even before the formal creation of the Republic of Korea, the DPRK have only participated in the Winter Olympics since 1964 and the Summer Games from 1972.

However, as older readers may remember, the 80s was an era of the Cold War and one which impacted national participation in the Olympics. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, the United States, the PRC and some of their allies boycotted the Moscow Olympics. The Soviet Union responded by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 and was joined in doing so by North Korea and many other communist countries.