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Koreans Deserve High Praise for the Olympics
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2018-03-09 09:53:27
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Koreans Deserve High Praise for the Olympics
By George Cassidy Payne

At the risk of appearing to condone a vicious regime in North Korea, kudos to the Korean people on both sides for hosting and participating in a magnificent Olympic games.

koreaolymp1_400To the credit of South Korea in particular, there were no major equipment failures, scandals, deaths, or acts of terrorism. From start to finish, it was a brilliant display of technological efficiency and artistic grace. The world truly witnessed a nation at the peak of its intellectual and cultural powers.

These winter games also epitomized the original spirit and purpose expressed in the Olympic Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

On and off the ice and snow, this noble motto came to life in Pyeongchang. Most bravely, the South Koreans made a heroic choice to use the games not just as a platform to showcase their economic prowess, but as an opportunity to extend their hand towards an immensely dangerous archenemy. That North Korea and South Korea marched together under one flag during the opening and closing ceremonies was certainly a visually captivating moment that played well to an international audience; but for these two nations, it was a tangible sign that peace and reconciliation in this region is possible. (The fact that Vice President Pence refused to celebrate this moment was dishonorable and petty.)

What is more, for the South Koreans to host Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, along with a North Korean delegation, was a remarkable gesture that, if it continues to encourage similar dialogues, can only promote mutual understanding and cooperation. Disregarding all of the critics who said it catered to North Korean propaganda, it was actually a meaningful form of diplomacy which created a sense of hope for the future. In fact, it was the first time a member of the North's ruling dynasty came to visit the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The ramifications of this radical hospitality are too complex to fully discern right now, but it could have the potential to help avert a nuclear war. Pyeonchang 2018 was that significant.

Not surprisingly, it looks as if these games- and the courageous steps towards peace they fostered- will be very rewarding. According to a recent study by the Hyundai Research Institute the 2018 Winter Olympics may add 59.4 billion to the South Korean economy over the next decade.

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