Security Concerns for South Korea Olympic Finns

Tensions in the Korean Peninsula taken into consideration by Finnish Olympic Committee.

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Winter Olympic torch relay / Credit: @pyongchang2018 Instagram

The tense political and security situation in the Korean Peninsula is also being felt by Finnish Olympic sports organisers, as they prepare for the upcoming PyongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, to be held in South Korea next February.

“We just sent a message to athletes and teams, where we told them our security and crisis communication plan” says Mika Noronen, Communications Manager of the Olympic Committee.

The Olympic Committee has drawn up its plans in cooperation with the police, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The message has been that there is no particular security threat in South Korea. Of course we have to prepare for crisis situations due to the political tension” says Leena Paavolainen, a member of the Olympic Committee.

The games will be staged just 80km from the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the heavily fortified border area that separates South Korea and North Korea.

North Korea has recently conducted several nuclear tests, and last week reported that it had tested an advanced hydrogen bomb.

According to Paavolainen, it’s not possible to move the Winter Olympics from PyongChang to another location, unless the competition was split up into much smaller parts, to be hosted by different venues.

There will be about 3000 athletes competing at the games, with up to 120 going from Finland, and competing in 11 sports. That’s up from 102 athletes that Finland sent to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

The first Finnish athletes will be selected before Christmas, on December 19th, with more selections made – including ice hockey – later in January.