PYONGYANG – North Korea took a major step forward this month by announcing that they would participate in the February games taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. To the respective governments, it means deflation of the ever increasing military tension between the two countries. But to the population of NK? It will be the first (and possibly only) chance for many to leave the country.
North Korean residents poured out of their homes early next morning: men and women, children and the elderly; taking to the streets to begin training for the Olympic qualifying events. Community led runs of 3 to 4 million people are common as everyone looks to get into better shape. Until now, the fastest athletes in the country, often seen flexing their skills in the country’s demilitarized zone, were always shipped off upstate to a nice farm where they could hone their skills in private.
How this training will carry over to the winter games however is mostly unknown. While the majority of the winter events are foreign to North Korean citizens, they haven’t let it slow them down.
”I never ski before in my life,” says one North Korea resident Sook Lee-Min. “But if it get me out of here? Just call me Lindsay Vonn.”
Others like Mr. Sook will be trying their hand at such winter activities as curling, ice hockey, and bobsleighing for the first time in their lives. As part of the vetting process, honorary-North Korean Dennis Rodman has been hosting his own training regiments at his workout facility in Pyongyang, where residents compete in 5v5 “Ultimate Elimination” tournaments.
All this training may be in vein however as rumors are already pouring in that NK leader Kim Jung Un has secured his own spot in practically every event. Breaking qualifying records in all categories across the board, there is no doubt that, should these times hold up in Pyeongchang, the supreme leader will smash the record for Olympic gold medals held by American-dog, Michael Phelps.