French Olympic Committee President 'Cannot Imagine' 2018 Boycott
French Olympic Committee President Denis Masseglia "cannot imagine" a situation that will lead to the country boycotting next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea "amid growing concerns over tensions in North Korea," according to Julien Pretot of REUTERS. France Sports Minister Laura Flessel said on Thursday that if the crisis deepened and "our security cannot be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home," before adding "we're not there yet." Masseglia said, "If the Games take place, I cannot imagine that France would not be there. If the Games take place it means that the IOC believes security conditions are met." Masseglia, however, has "no doubt" that the IOC will provide a safe Games. He added, "It's the biggest sport organization in the world, monitoring the biggest sport event in the world" (REUTERS, 9/23). YONHAP reported on Friday, Flessel said that she "emphasized" that it is a "very important to ensure that French athletes focus on training in a comfortable state of mind but that the radio exaggerated part of what she said." She added that France "fully trusts South Korea's efforts to make it a safe event" (YONHAP, 9/23).
COVERING THE COSTS: REUTERS' Kirsti Knolle reported the IOC said on Friday that it was "helping North Korea prepare its athletes" for the Winter Games in South Korea next February and "would cover costs of their equipment if needed." North Korea had protested to three global sporting federations that its requests to buy sports equipment for its athletes "were being denied due to U.S.-led sanctions." Letters from North Korean sporting associations were addressed to the Int'l Ski Federation (FIS) and World Archery Federation, both based in Switzerland, and the Int'l Shooting Sport Federation (SSF), based in Munich, Germany. None of the three int'l governing bodies responded to requests for comment, but IOC spokesperson Emmanuelle Moreau confirmed the IOC had been "copied into the letter to FIS" (REUTERS, 9/22).
SLOW SALES: REUTERS' Hyunjoo Jin reported South Korea’s political tensions with North Korea and China are "depressing ticket sales" for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, leaving hundreds of thousands of tickets unsold, the organizers said. Hurting ticket sales in China, Beijing has "banned group tours to South Korea following Seoul’s decision to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system to counter North Korean threats." Beijing said that the system's "powerful radar is a threat to its security." PyeongChang Organizing Committee Marketing Dir General Eom Chan-wang said, "The political issues are having an impact on ticket sales. China, which represents the biggest market, barely bought tickets so far." The Games are to be held in February, but as of Sept. 18, only 312,000 tickets were sold, about 29.2% of its targeted sales of 1.07 million tickets (REUTERS, 9/22).