Joint-Korean 2032 Olympic Games Bid Agrees To Send Letter Of Intent To IOC

A joint North and South Korea 2032 Olympic Games bid is set to become official after the two agreed to send a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Friday, signalling an intent to co-host the Games.

The Unified Korean team enters PyeongChang Olympic Stadium (PyeongChang 2018 Photo)

The decision was made during a meeting held at the joint liaison office in the North’s border town of Kaesong where the two also agreed to further sports cooperation by sending a combined team to compete in the men’s Handball World Championship in Germany next year.

It is also planned to send joint teams to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

Join-Korean teams were sent to the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games and the Jakarta Asian Games earlier this year, as tensions on the peninsula begin to thaw.

If elected by the IOC, events would be staged in both capitals Pyongyang and Seoul; the latter was the host city of the 1988 Games.

2032 is the earliest available date to host the Games after Paris was awarded the 2024 edition and Los Angeles the 2028 event, both last year.

Mounting a bid would require an unprecedented level of cooperation and trust between the two nations that have technically been at war since a cease fire ended armed conflict in 1953.  Joint bids between any two nations are forbidden by the Olympic Charter, but the IOC could change that as the organization trends toward more sustainable hosting plans.

A Games would also force Pyongyang to open its doors to reporting from the international media, and to welcome athletes and officials without restrictions.  Human rights issues will also be a concern.

IOC President Thomas Bach, however, said in September that he would support a joint-Korean bid.

Both South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decided to pursue the project at a September summit between the two nations.

Interest in hosting the Summer Olympics seems on the rise since the previous 2024 race saw a list of five candidates dwindle to only two when public and political opposition ended three projects.

Indonesian officials announced in September that they’ll begin to prepare Jakarta for a 2032 bid after staging a successful Asian Games this year.

Shanghai’s announced that the Chinese city could consider a 2032 bid while it sets a course to become a “globally famous” sport city.

Last month Bach said he had received firm interest from Brisbane in Australia as it develops a feasibility study.

Buenos Aires in Argentina is also considering mounting a Summer Olympic bid after successfully hosting the Youth Olympics this month.  The same city is also studying a possible bid for a 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympics.

Other interest in bidding for the 2032 Games has come from India, Germany, Russia and Egypt.  The IOC indicated earlier this year that it has had discussions with at least one interested city and that the “discussion phase” of the cycle has begun.

The 2032 host city will be chosen by the IOC in 2025.

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.

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