North Korea barred from participating in Olympics until end of 2022, loses funding

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Spectators from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games Closing Ceremony at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on February 25, 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended North Korea from the Winter Games in Beijing for not participating in the Tokyo Games.
  • The country pulled out of the Tokyo Games citing coronavirus concerns.
  • North Korea will be suspended until the end of 2022 and will no longer receive funding from the IOC.
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North Korea has been barred from the Olympics until the end of 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Wednesday. The suspension means North Korea will not compete in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

The decision comes after the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of North Korea did not participate in the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC said in a statement.

"By not participating in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the PRK NOC failed to fulfill one of the fundamental duties and obligations of an NOC," the IOC wrote.

The committee said in the statement that it had warned North Korea of the consequences of not participating and had offered "to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC."

With the suspension, North Korea will no longer receive financial support from the IOC, as per the statement. If any North Korean athlete qualifies for the Beijing Games, a separate decision will be made, the IOC said.

When asked about the suspension, IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters at a press conference that the Games "show to the world how it could look like if everybody would respect the same rules, if everybody would live together peacefully without any kind of discrimination," according to The Guardian.

In April, the Associated Press reported that North Korea would not participate in the Tokyo Olympics over coronavirus concerns. North Korea's sports ministry said it wanted to protect athletes from the "world public health crisis caused by Covid-19," reported the AP.

North Korea has competed at the Olympics since 1964 and has won a total of 56 medals, two of which have been at past Winter Games, per the BBC. It sent 22 athletes to participate in the last Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

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