On Thursday the 21st of September, 2017, the French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said, “It is possible France will skip the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, due to security concerns.” The conflict between the United States and North Korea is not exactly helping matters; therefore France is having security speculations and concerns.
Laura Flessel told RTL radio that if “our security cannot be assured, the French team will stay at home.” How will this change the course of the Olympic games? France has competed in every modern Olympic Game, since the Games held in Athens,Greece on April 6, 1896.
Therefore, this is would be the first time they have not participated.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea on February 9-25th. There has been concerns about the safety from their neighboring country, North Korea, who is currently involved in an international standoff over nuclear weapons. France has been the first country to openly say something about this issue. Laura Flessel continued in saying “If this gets worse and we do not have our security assured, then our French team will stay here,” “We will not put our team in danger.”
In an interview with a sophomore student from SLV said, “ I love the Olympics and I think that it is sad that France is thinking about not competing because who knows how that will affect the other athletes that are involved, but then again the safety of the athletes, staff, and spectators should be the most important concern.”
In the last few months North Korea has fired a series of missile tests which raise concerns regarding safety.
Also, Noh Kyu-Duk, a spokesman for Seoul Foreign Ministry, has claimed, “His government is doing all it can to ensure a secure Games.”
There have been a variety of reasons why countries have withdrawn from the Olympics in the past including: racial discrimination, after both World Wars, decisions by referees, political gestures made by athletes and the fear of contagious epidemics. But there has never been a cancellation due to security reasons.
On average over 13,000 athletes compete at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in 33 different sports and nearly 400 events. No final decision has been made yet as to whether France will withdraw. Only time will tell what the France Olympic team will do, but whatever the decision is it will make an impact on the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
By Sarah Hanson
Photo by longroom.com