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Kim Jong Un gives the Winter Olympics best ever "launch"

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has announced his support of the 2018 Winter Olympics across the border in PyeongChang. (Photo: Getty Images)
by Gianni Merlo, AIPS President, La Gazzetta dello Sport

LAUSANNE, January 9, 2018 - It is paradoxical, but Kim Jong Un, the chubby North Korean dictator, unwittingly launched the largest and most sophisticated promotional campaign of the Winter Olympic Games, which will open on February 9th at PyeongChang, South Korea. That was ever done before.

Until a few months ago this Olympics of ice and snow rebounded in the indifference of the world. Yes, even in Italy, few remembered the imminency of this event and then the name of the site, PyeongChang, certainly did not help to become welcome to the idea. It was easy to confuse it, because the sound is similar to the one of Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. For this reason Choi Moon-soon, the Governor of Gangwon Province, where PyeongChang is located, not far from the border with the North, told us this year a true story.

In February 2014, a Kenyan journalist decided to visit the Korean Olympic facilities and called a tourist agency to organize the trip. He made a fantastic flight and when he landed he asked who could help him to plan a visit to the Olympic venues. His interlocutors squared him coldly and replied: "Dear sir, you are a journalist and we hope that you are not making fun of us, but you have landed in Pyongyang, in the wrong country ..."

Choi Moon-soon, the Governor of South Korea's Gangwon Province at the 2017 AIPS Congress in PyeongChang. (Photo: KSPU)

Now Kim Jong Un, with his fireworks-missiles, put PyeongChang on the real map, gave it a new image. And even Trump, with his tweets, helped out. Today everyone is talking about the meeting of the delegations of the two countries, who have met in Panmunjom, a place that gives shivers. We've been there. It is in the demilitarized zone. There is a shack divided in half by the ideal boundary line, ideal up to a certain point because if someone only tramples he can be instantly shot down... It has often happened in the past. The negotiating table is divided in half. It is a Kafkaesque environment, it belongs to another world, but perhaps this time it has helped to open new glimpses of real dialogue and this thanks to sport.

In this case also the Olympic world will have a substantial benefit, as these Games, which were practically ignored by that part of the world that has nothing to do with snow, are now on everyone's lips. The NBC, which pays several millions for television rights, can finally breathe a sigh of relief: the audiences are assured. Figure skating will have a morning schedule to allow Americans to follow it in prime time, just like the 100-meter final in Seoul in 1988, where the duel Ben Johnson-Carl Lewis aired at dinner time in New York. When the North Korean couple, Ryom Tae-Ok - Kim Ju-, go out on the ice it will be a triumph of contacts.

Courtesy: La Gazzetta dello Sport

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