North Korea & South Korea Walked Into The Olympics Together & People Were Shocked

by Stephanie Ironson

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics have officially kicked off. The opening ceremony took place in South Korea on Feb. 9, and the entire planet watched with pride as countries around the world united for these Olympic Games. There was one specific moment of unity that stood out among the rest, shocking audiences around the globe. Despite months of intense tension and political discrepancies between the two countries, North and South Korea entered the opening ceremony together and walked arm in arm under a single flag. Tweets about North and South Korea's Olympic entrance took over feeds as people expressed both shock and celebration over their togetherness.

The North and South Korean Olympic athletes wore white jackets with black pants and marched under the Korea Unification flag, which bears the full Korean peninsula in pale blue over a white background. The pack of competitors was led by two flagbearers: South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong and North Korean ice hockey player Hwang Chung Gum.

As jarring as this unification may seem, it's not the first time it's happened. The two countries marched under the same flag at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy and at the World Table Tennis Championships in 1991.

Twitter went ablaze following the first sight of North and South Korea together.

Many were overwhelmed to see the two nations together for the first time in over a decade.

Twitter isn't the the only one cheering.

Time reported that North Korea has sent roughly 230 fans to PyeongChang to support their athletes and nation. Similarly, North Korea will send fans along to the Paralympic Games along with the athletes this March.

In addition to North and South Korea's Olympic joint entrance, the nations will share a women's ice hockey team these Winter Games. This is a first for the countries. As The Telegraph tweeted, "A unified North and South Korean ice hockey team has been formed to compete at the Winter Olympics. It is the first time a united Koreas team will perform at the Olympics — a move which has been welcomed in the North and derided in the South."

On the same note of togetherness, the skiers from both countries have spent time training together in North Korea prior to the Winter Games.

The jubilant nature of the Korean athletes' entrance certainly shows their camaraderie, which many viewers were so excited to see.

The unity between North and South Korea isn't the only aspect that makes the 2018 Olympic Winter Games stand out. According to CBS, the PyeongChang Games are the largest Winter Olympics to date, with over 2,900 athletes from 92 countries competing.

However, in harsh contrast to the Koreas' entrance, Russian athletes did not walk in the opening ceremony. Only two months ago, in December 2017, the International Olympic Committee announced that Russia is banned from the 2018 Winter Games, so the world won't be seeing the Russian flag during any competitions or ceremonies in PyeongChang.

The International Olympic Committee explained the reason for the ban was because Russia had managed "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved."

While Russia will not be competing as a country, there are 168 men and women who are labeled "Olympic Athletes from Russia" competing in these Winter Games.

The events have hardly started, and PyeongChang is already breaking molds and exciting fans across the world. The Winter Olympics begin on Feb. 9 and conclude on Feb. 25.

To learn more, visit The Winter Olympics will air live starting February 8.