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Commencement of the 2004 Athens Olympics...Joint Entrance of South and North Korea

Commencement of the 2004 Athens Olympics...Joint Entrance of South and North Korea

Posted August. 13, 2004 22:04,   


The Olympic torch blazed up in the City of Gods.

The 2004 Athens Olympics kicked off its 17 days of fiery contests after the opening ceremony in the Athens Olympic stadium at 2:45 a.m. on August 14 (local time: 8:45 p.m., August 13) amidst the historical participation of all 202 IOC member nations, which is the first time in Olympics history.

The Athens Olympics is holding its second ceremony in 108 years since the first in 1896.

In the opening ceremony, the South and North Korean team, dressed in blue tops and beige bottoms and a rainbow-striped bowtie symbolizing the Olympic flag, delivered the message of conciliation and peace throughout the world as they entered the stadium in 84th position, with their hands held together in succession of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Joint bearers of the South and the North Koo Min-Jung and Kim Sung-Ho led the team, accompanied with a large peninsula flag.

The host country Greece split its squad into two to decorate the first and last entrances of the ceremony, to make the best of the tradition of the host country entering at the tail and the Olympics’ birthplace country entering at the head, which was authorized by IOC.

This Olympics, with 15,000 players participating, offers 301 gold medals in 28 competitive games. The Korean team, which tied for 12th place in the medal count (eight gold, 10 silver, 10 bronze) in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is aiming for a comeback to the world in 10th place, with the ambitions to acquire over 13 gold medals.

The Korean squad will challenge for its first gold medal with Suh Sun-hwa and Jo Eun-young (Uljin country) in the women’s 10m shooting, and in the men’s 60 kg Judo, Choi Min-ho (Changwon cycle racing corps) will also attempt for the gold.

North Korea also goes after four gold medals led by judo hero Gye Soon-hee and the world record holder in weightlifting, Lee Sung-hee.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com