SEOUL, Jan. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — A joint men’s bobsled team between the two Koreas could be formed for training and track testing ahead of next month’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the South, the international bobsled governing body has said.
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) said on its website Thursday that a “mixed 4-man bobsleigh team with athletes from North and South Korea could be among the sleds testing the conditions” ahead of the Olympic races scheduled for Feb. 24 and 25.
IBSF President Ivo Ferriani and Vice President Darrin Steele are currently planning to build the joint team, the federation added. The two, both former bobsleigh athletes and coaches, would prepare and coach the team themselves.
The federation envisions forming a crew made up of “an experienced pilot and a push athlete from South Korea with two more push athletes from the North.”
“The athletes must trust each other and cooperate perfectly in the narrowest of spaces. A mixed bobsleigh team would bring the athletes of both countries really close together,” Ferriani was quoted as saying. The International Olympic Committee is currently examining the request.
An official at South Korea’s sports ministry said it has yet to confirm the news. The official added that there are no plans as of now to form an additional joint team outside of the already agreed-upon joint women’s hockey squad.
Won Yun-jong and Seo Young-woo, the two-man bobsleigh team of South Korea that finished as the world No. 1 in the 2015-2016 season, are a medal hopeful at the PyeongChang Games. North Korea currently has no bobsledders registered with the IBSF.
South and North Korea agreed Wednesday to field a joint women’s ice hockey team for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the South next month and march together under a unified Korea flag at the opening ceremony. The agreement marked a major breakthrough after years of frosty ties between the two countries and last year’s heightened tensions over the North’s nuclear and missile provocations.