Korea officially is on the board.
The unified Korean women’s hockey team is making history at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang as the only team competing with athletes from both North and South Korea. Entering Wednesday, though, it hadn’t provided much competition, suffering 8-0 defeats to both Switzerland and Sweden in group play.
But Korea finally took a step forward Wednesday. In the second period against Japan, forward Randi Griffin got the unified Koreans on the board with their first goal of the Olympics.
It wasn’t a pretty goal by any means — Japanese goaltender Akane Konishi appeared to misplay the puck — but that didn’t matter to the Koreans or their many fans, who erupted in celebration after the score.
While Japan went on to win 4-1, the goal was the highlight to date of the Korean team’s Olympic experience.
The politics surrounding unified Korea’s presence at the Games still loom large, though. The North Korean government allowed 12 players to join the roster of South Koreans at the last minute in an apparent gesture of goodwill, but many question whether North Korea’s move is a genuine attempt to reach peace with its southern neighbor or merely a publicity stunt by the dictatorship to draw attention away from its unchanged totalitarian regime.
Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images
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