10 South Korean Fans Watch North Korea Beat South Korea in Women’s Soccer Match

It looks like the North Korean women’s soccer team does not need to be concerned with being sent to a reeducation labor camp after beating South Korea:

North Korea women’s national football team players (in red) celebrate after scoring a goal against South Korea at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship at Soga Sports Park in Chiba, Japan, on Dec. 11, 2017. (Yonhap)

North Korea beat South Korea 1-0 in a women’s inter-Korean football match in Chiba on Monday.

Kim Yun-mi scored the only goal of the match as North Korea collected their second straight victory at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship at Soga Sports Park in Chiba, Japan.

North Korea, two-time defending champions of the regional women’s competition, beat China 2-0 to open their tournament last Friday. South Korea, however, suffered their second straight loss, having lost their first match to hosts Japan by 3-2.

The two losses mean South Korea can’t win the four-nation tournament. Yoon Duk-yeo’s side was looking to win the regional crown for the first time since 2005. They will try to close out the tournament on a high note against China on Friday, also in Chiba.

There were more than 300 North Korea fans gathered at the stadium on Monday, compared to about 10 people in the South Korean supporters section.  [Yonhap]

That last sentence is probably the most amazing thing to me about this game, that South Korea only had 10 fans show up to the game.

IOC President Wants to Visit North Korea to Beg Kim Regime to Participate in Winter Olympics

Most of the world and the IOC fought to keep Apartheid South Africa out of the Olympics, but North Korea a country with a far worse human rights record and a threat to world peace has South Korea and the IOC literally begging them to participate:

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is seeking to visit North Korea to discuss its participation in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, South Korean government sources said Friday.

“The IOC is believed to be discussing with North Korea a possible trip by President Bach to Pyongyang for talks on the country’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympics,” a source said.

The IOC is seeking the visit based on close consultation with the South Korean government.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the North would accept Bach’s visit despite heightened tensions over its nuclear and missile tests. The North last week test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that appeared capable of reaching Washington DC.

“There is no guarantee that the visit will take place. But if it does happen, it could be interpreted as a positive sign for North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympics,” another government source said, adding that there was a possibility of a lower level official of the IOC making the trip instead of Bach.  [Korea Herald]

You can read more at the link.

Nikki Haley Says that the Trump Administration Has Not Decided If the US Will Participate in 2018 Winter Olympics

This seems like a pretty odd thing to say unless the US has some kind of intelligence that the North Koreans are going to commit some kind of provocation during the Winter Olympics:

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in an interview with Fox News that her country’s participation in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February was an “open question” due to security concerns over North Korea, stirring worries in South Korea Friday that the Games could flop.

South Korea’s Blue House scrambled to rebut the idea, saying U.S. President Donald Trump had “promised” President Moon Jae-in during a recent phone call that his country would participate.

During an interview with Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Wednesday, Haley said the U.S. government has not decided yet whether to participate in the games, adding, “What we will do is make sure we are taking every precaution possible to make sure” that American athletes are “safe and to know everything that’s going on around them.”  [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link, but the North Koreans have not committed any provocation nearly as bad as what happened before the 1988 Olympics in Seoul when they bombed KAL Flight 858 killing 115 people.  Despite that provocation the US still participated in the Seoul Olympics.

Women’s Korean Basketball League May Ban Foreign Players

It seems to me that if foreign players are banned in the Women’s Korean Basketball League it may give Korean women more playing time, but they will lose the benefit of playing against top foreign talent.  This could ultimately cause a reduction in competitiveness for Korean women when competing in international basketball competitions:

KEB Hanabank player Hazmon Gwathmey, left, gives a high-five to Isabelle Harrison. / Courtesy of WKBL

Coaches from the six teams of the Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) want to gradually abolish the policy allowing foreign players in the league.

Each team was allowed two foreign players, but only one could play until the league opted for a new policy allowing two foreign players to play simultaneously in the third quarter for the upcoming season.

The revised policy aimed to increase the league’s average score.

But some teams were concerned that they would be at a disadvantage if a foreign player was injured or if they had only one foreign player.

Yongin Samsung Blue Minx lost to KB Stars on Nov. 18, without leading scorer Alyssa Thomas, while KB’s Damiris Dantas finished with a game high 28 points and 14 rebounds.

“At the coaches meeting, we talked about discarding the policy about foreigners,” said KEB Hanabank coach Lee Hwan-woo. “We can give Korean players more opportunity to play and use the budget used for foreign players to expand the base of women’s basketball.”

“We do not have a Korean ‘big man’ because we do not have many good Korean players,” said We Seong-woo, a coach form Woori Bank Wibee.
“I think it would be right to diminish the proportion of foreigner players slowly and then abolishing the policy.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Columbian Player Criticized for Making Racist Gesture During Match with South Korea

I guess the word hasn’t gotten out yet in Columbia that making slant eyes is considered racist:

In this image captured during an MBC telecast of the men’s football friendly match between South Korea and Colombia on Nov. 10, 2017, Colombian player Edwin Cardona makes an apparent racist gesture at South Korean players at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Yonhap)

Colombian football player Edwin Cardona made an apparent racist gesture at his South Korean opponents during his team’s 2-1 friendly loss here on Friday.

In a testy match at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 46 kilometers south of Seoul, Cardona, who came off the bench in the second half, made the mocking gesture toward South Korean captain Ki Sung-yueng, who was standing next to two teammates.

It came after the end of some pushing and shoving that ensued following James Rodriguez’s foul on Kim Jin-su around the 63rd minute mark.

After Kim went down to the ground in pain, James, as he’s commonly known, tried to bring the South Korean to his feet so that the match would resume. Colombia were trailing 2-0 at the time.

South Koreans took umbrage at James’ action, and players from both sides gathered around Kim and James.

As the players were separated, Cardona, who’d come off the bench in the second half, made that controversial gesture, which was caught on South Korean television.

His head coach, Jose Pekerman said afterward that he never saw the gesture. But Ki, who clearly did see Cardona’s action, called it “absolutely unacceptable.”

“I thought the Colombians played a physical, rough game today, but it can happen in football,” Ki said. “But racist behavior is absolutely unacceptable. Colombia have world-class players, and I was extremely disappointed to see such action.”  [Yonhap]

Athletes Worry that 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea Could Be Cancelled

The North Koreans bombed an airliner prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the games still occurred so I don’t think a bunch of rhetoric is going to stop the Winter Olympics:

But here we are, talking about miniaturization and intercontinental ballistic missiles, fretting about that inflection point where words turn to bombs, understanding that not only PyeongChang next year but Tokyo in 2020 will live under the constant threat of annihilation from the most irrational of actors.

And it’s amid this dread that Olympians stare at the potential danger, weigh it against four years of grueling training for an unmatched apex and, well, shrug. They comprehend the gravity. They recognize the threat. They’ve just got better things to do than worry about it.

Maddie Bowman is 23 years old. She won Olympic gold in Sochi with a flawless halfpipe skiing run and went viral thanks to her grandma. She balances training for PyeongChang with studying for college, though neither keeps her from remaining historically conscious enough to grasp the threat of North Korea that has existed for decades.

Still, when Bowman attended a February test event at Bokwang Phoenix Park, where the freeskiing and snowboarding halfpipe contests will take place, no sense of impending doom imperiled her.

“When we went to South Korea, I felt safe,” Bowman told Yahoo Sports. “And in Russia, I felt pretty safe. I think as skiers, we obviously don’t see risk as a big thing in our lives. In talking with fellow athletes, it’s like, yeah, maybe the Olympics won’t happen, but it’s hard for us to see that risk. It’s not going to get in the way of my goals. I like to keep up with what’s going on in the world and am concerned with decisions we make as a country, but it’s not affecting my training.”

The chatter among fellow Olympians, Bowman said, centers more on the possibility of the PyeongChang Games being canceled rather than athletes pulling out because of concerns over the region’s stability.  [Yahoo Sports]

You can read more at the link, but unless an actual conflict breaks out I would be very surprised if the Winter Olympics is cancelled.

Steph Curry Takes On Giant Inflatable on Korean Variety Show

Steph Curry just got to experience what it feels like to be on a Korean variety show:

Steph Curry is a man of many talents—he’s arguably the best shooter in NBA history, he’s a two-time World Champion and he’s a damn good golfer.

Brother Seth isn’t too shabby of a player himself, but even the mighty Curry brothers are no match for giant inflatables. Particularly not when the basket the Currys are shooting on is literally spinning, while the other side gets a hoop that’s more than twice regulation size.

The Currys faced these monumental odds on a Korean variety show, where they played against a team of Korean comedians.  [Sports Illustrated via a reader tip]

You can read more at the link and see the videos from the show below:


Former US Ambassador to Korea Returns to Cheer On Doosan Bears On Opening Day

It looks like former US Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert is a really big fan of the Doosan Bears:

Mark Lippert (C), former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, waves to fans while attending a Korea Baseball Organization game between the Doosan Bears and the Hanwha Eagles at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on March 31, 2017. (Yonhap)

Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert returned to Seoul on Friday to attend a baseball game.

Lippert, whose term ended in January after a little over two years, attended the 2017 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season opener between the home team Doosan Bears and the Hanwha Eagles at Jamsil Stadium.

A Bears official said Lippert had contacted the club about 10 days ago saying he wanted to be here for the first game of the new season.

During his time here, Lippert, an avid baseball fan, had been an honorary ambassador for the KBO. The Bears are his favorite team, and he often traveled across the nation to watch them in postseason play.  [Yonhap]