The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics are just a few days away but North Korea’s participation has brought up many questions, especially on the perks that athletes and staff will receive.
For the event, athletes and staff will get new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 smartphones, Nike uniforms and other equipment. But North Korea’s team is unlikely to see many of the perks due to the international sanctions. The sanctions have made things a little difficult for organizers because there are travel restrictions. There is also a ban on luxury goods, which includes sports equipment.
22 North Korean athletes will compete at the event but organizers are still working to provide the same or similar benefits to them. South Korean officials have said that during the process, the country has done everything to make sure the sanctions are not broken.
Last month, South and North Korea agreed on a joint women’s hockey team. The South also announced that the two countries will walk together at the opening ceremony under a unified flag. The team has been training and living together but there are a few questions just days before the event.
A few weeks ago, Samsung announced a Winter Olympics Galaxy Note 8, which will be given free to athletes and staff. An organizer told Reuters that they are not sure if the North Korean team is eligible to receive these perks because of the UN sanctions. In recent years, the UN has announced several sanctions against North Korea.
Nike is also an official sponsor, so organizers have turned to another company for the uniforms because of the sanctions. One South Korean government official told Reuters that a Finnish company will provide uniforms to the women’s hockey team. The official added that the North Korean team will have to return the hockey equipment when they leave the country.
The North Korean athletes are staying at the athletes village while the cheering squad will stay at a four star hotel, according to an official. The agreement to field the joint hockey team and march under a unified flag was met with criticism by many. Some took social media to express their opinions on the agreement, with many complaining that the PyeongChang Olympics had turned into the Pyongyang Olympics.
The 2018 Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place from February 9 to February 25.