The London Olympics 2012 began with a controversy when North Korea’s women footballers refused to take the field against Colombia at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. the players were miffed after South Korea’s flag was shown on the big screen at Hampden Park, ahead of the game.
The match which was to begin at 18:45 GMT began an hour and five minutes late after the North Korean team were finally persuaded to take the field after the organizers apologized for the gaffe. Predictably, the incident did not cause much amusement in the North Korean camp. Coach Sin Ui Gun stated that if the matter hadn’t been resolved, he would have concluded that what was going on was nonsense. he said that the team was angry when the players were introduced as though they were from South Korea.
The organizers compounded the gaffe by failing to refer to the countries by their Olympic names — Republic of Korea and Democratic Republic of Korea in the apology statement.
North Korea and South Korea are officially in a state of war. The flag controversy has come at a time when tensions between the neighbouring countries is at a peak following a North Korean rocket launch in April, ostensibly meant to put a satellite into orbit, a claim South Korea and the US have debunked. Repeated threats by North Korea to attack the south have done nothing to improve matters.
In another controversy, on the opening day, the GB women’s football team was referred to as England in an email sent out by the team. In a third controversy, the organizers gave a refund to thousands of diving fans who did not get an unobstructed view owing to a defect in the construction of the wave-shaped Aquatic Centre. Other controversies include the sending back of Greek triple-jumper Voula Papachristou for a racist tweet ridiculing Africans living in Greece.
Britain will hope to live down the controversial start, with Friday’s much awaited opening ceremony that will star Sir Paul McCartney and David Beckham.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.