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Playing The Game? Sport And The Two Koreas

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the inter-Korean interactions in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics against the background of the broader linkages between sport, nationalism and international relations. It discusses the historical development of sport in Korea and the importance attached to sporting prowess and national image by both Koreas. The chapter analyses the impact of the Seoul Olympics, and the faltering attempts to create sporting links between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). If the Olympics mark the pinnacle of multi-sports mega-events, they are almost rivalled in terms of popular and media interest by the World Cup in football. Both Koreas have devoted considerable resources to developing sporting systems and securing sporting achievement since 1960s. In the South and the North, governments have seen sport as a means to mobilise their peoples for 'national' goals such as social stability, health welfare and economic development.

Keywords: Beijing Olympics; Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK); football world cup; inter-Korean interactions; Republic of Korea (ROK)

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