IOC gives strong backing for 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea despite tensions with North Korea

Games will be staged just 80km from heavily guarded border which separates the two nations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 3:21am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 10:30am

The International Olympic Committee on Saturday gave its “full support” to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang despite tensions over North Korea’s nuclear tests which have raised concerns over the showpiece event.

The Olympics, which run from February 9-25 in South Korea, will be staged only 80km (50 miles) from the heavily guarded border which separates the two nations.

But at the sixth Olympic Summit in Lausanne, leading officials including IOC president Thomas Bach insisted that there is no question of the Games not taking place.

“With regard to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Summit expressed its appreciation that the IOC has been in close contact for many months already with the governments and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) concerned,” said a statement.

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“The Summit took note that none of them has called the Olympic Games Pyeongchang 2018 into question.

“The safety and security of the athletes are of course the top priority for everyone in the Olympic Movement, and this was highlighted again by the Olympic Summit.

“The IOC will continue to monitor the situation in cooperation with governments, NOCs and International Federations (IFs).”

In recent weeks, several countries, including France, Germany and Austria, have raised concerns over the safety of their athletes during the Games while the United States Olympic Committee said on Friday that it was prepared “to face any scenario”.