IOC suspends NKorea from Beijing Olympics for Tokyo no-show

Sep 7, 2021, 10:49 PM | Updated: Sep 8, 2021, 11:49 am

GENEVA (AP) — North Korea was formally suspended from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by the IOC on Wednesday as punishment for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Games citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

IOC president Thomas Bach said the North Korean national Olympic body will also now forfeit money it was due from previous Olympics. The unspecified amount — potentially millions of dollars — had been withheld because of international sanctions.

Individual athletes from North Korea who qualify to compete in Beijing could still be accepted by a separate decision in the future, Bach said.

The suspension marks a steep drop in North Korea’s Olympic status since the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, where the International Olympic Committee tried to aid a diplomatic breakthrough.

Athletes from the Korean neighbors marched together in the opening ceremony at Pyeongchang and joined together in a women’s ice hockey team.

North Korea withdrew its team in April from the Tokyo Olympics citing a need to protect athletes from the “world public health crisis caused by COVID-19.”

“They were violating the Olympic Charter and did not fulfill their obligation as stated in the Olympic Charter to participate,” Bach said at a news conference after an IOC executive board meeting.

The North Korean Olympic committee is suspended through 2022 and the exclusion could be extended, he said.

North Korea sent 10 competitors to the 2018 Winter Games, none in 2014 at Sochi, Russia, and two to Vancouver in 2010.

Asked what the IOC’s message would be to countries like North Korea and Afghanistan — where women risk losing the right to play sports — Bach said taking part in the Olympics can “show to the world how it could look like if everybody would respect the same rules, if everybody would live together peacefully without any kind of discrimination.”

Bach had earlier talked about the IOC supporting efforts to help athletes and officials leave Afghanistan with humanitarian visas and extending financial help for the country’s potential Olympic competitors.

Less than five months from the start of the 2022 Winter Games, it was suggested to Bach that China’s treatment of its Muslim minority Uyghur people was also a humanitarian issue and not yet directly addressed by the IOC.

“There are limitations in our influence,” the IOC president said. “It’s to take care of humanitarian issues within the Olympic community. This is what we are doing.”

Bach was reluctant to comment on FIFA’s plan to play men’s and women’s World Cups every two years — a move that would see soccer absorb billions of dollars more in commercial revenue and global media attention.

If FIFA can get its proposal approved, it would likely mean moving its marquee event to odd-number years to avoid a near-direct clash — including for broadcasters, sponsors and fans — with the Summer Games in 2028, 2032 and beyond.

“The potential consequences of such a move are becoming clearer day by day,” Bach said, adding he would “not put fuel to the fire” by speculating though the IOC closely followed the talks and finds them “interesting.”

He put his faith in “the contributions of the continental associations of FIFA” — an apparent reference to European soccer body UEFA which has pledged to fight changing the World Cup’s quadrennial cycle.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
22 hours ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
22 hours ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
22 hours ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
22 hours ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
22 hours ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
22 hours ago
IOC suspends NKorea from Beijing Olympics for Tokyo no-show