North Korean coaches encourage South Korea skier, photo creates Olympic buzz

A photo of two North Korean coaches reportedly supporting a South Korean skier is the latest example of the Koreas using the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics as a unifying event.

The photo has been making the rounds in South Korean news outlets and on social media after it was taken during the men’s 15km + 15km skiathlon on Sunday.

Two North Korean coaches (left) look on as South Korea’s Kim Eun-ho competes in the men’s 15km + 15km Skiathlon. (Yonhap)

Pictured is Kim Eun-ho, who was eventually lapped by the race’s leader and therefore disqualified. But as he labored along the course, the two North Korean coaches – in temperatures well below freezing, no less – “expressed their support” for Kim, according to the Korea Herald.

The Olympics brought the Koreas into official contact with each other before the Games for the first time in around two years. The North and South then agreed to march together at the Opening Ceremony under the unified Korea flag.

They’re also fielding a unified ice hockey team, and generally hoping to use the PyeongChang games to improve relations. South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shook hands during the Opening Ceremony as well.

It remains to be seen how much these gestures are merely political publicity stunts, but the photo is the latest example of unity between two countries that haven’t had much of it in recent years.

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