This selfie of the North Korea/South Korea gymnasts is why we have the Olympics
North Korea's Hong Un-jong and South Korea's Lee Eun-ju. I love the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/10vvR23AQj
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) August 7, 2016
IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF THE CONTROVERSY around the Olympics — from the many crises in Rio to dumb, media-inflated feuds between players, to the corruption of the IOC — it’s easy to forget why we put them on in the first place. But then the games start, and we get stories like this.
North Korea and South Korea are sworn enemies. Tensions between the two countries have been high since the war in the 1950s. North Korea is a totalitarian communist nightmare state, while South Korea is a growing capitalist democracy. To this day, they do not get along.
But that didn’t stop Lee Eun-ju, a South Korean gymnast, and Hong Un-jong, a North Korean gymnast, from getting friendly during the competition.
Gymnasts from North & South Korea take a selfie together. This is why we do the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/Id44OuehN3
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) August 5, 2016
It was a simple gesture — they merely exchanged greetings and took a selfie together — but it’s a huge one. This is what the Olympics do, at their best. They defuse tension. They promote peace. And they create killer photo ops. Take that, #PhelpsFace.