April 23, 2018

USOC: No sign of compromised security in South Korea

27 September 2017, 12:51 | Kristopher Drake

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Canadian women's hockey team will host the archrival United States in Winnipeg on December 5 in a pre-Olympic matchup.

With tensions on the Korean peninsula threatening to bubble over, the government in Paris on Thursday became the first to publicly raise the possibility of skipping the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Olympics on safety grounds.

The North's International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung has also said the Pyeongchang Games will not be affected by the current crisis and expressed hopes of seeing athletes from his country competing.

Participants in the Games - the first Winter Olympics hosted by an Asian nation outside Japan - had not previously raised safety concerns publicly.

Photo Elana Meyers Taylor, left, a two-time Olympic bobsledder, said if athletes are supposed to be role models, they can not "stick to sports".

The game is one in a series of six the Canadians and Americans will play prior to February's Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

IOC President Thomas Bach said last week that considering any scenario other than holding the Olympics in South Korea could hamper diplomatic efforts.

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He added that Los Angeles would support any US effort to bring the Winter Games back to the country for the first time since Salt Lake City hosted them in 2002.

"Our preparations continue in earnest and, as with all Games, we will continue to work with our state department and local organizers to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe", USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement on the USA team website.

Russian Federation said security was each host country's responsibility and China's foreign ministry said it was not aware of any plans for the its Olympic team to not attend.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have contacted all 205 National Olympic Committees asking them to "coordinate any media enquiries and responses" about the situation in North Korea with them.

While some athletes left open the possibility of making a political statement at the Winter Games, others said it was out of the question. "I think the hardest thing is that all of us would love to just stick to sport - but if you want us to be role models to kids then you need to stand for more than just sports". The U.S., Canada, Sweden and Finland will also face each other November 5-12 in Tampa, Florida, in the Four Nations Cup. The two countries remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), which has representatives in South Korea, said the safety of its team was always its main priority.

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