This week North Koreans are most likely going home from the Pyeongchang Winter games. The failed North Korean Olympians are hoping to avoid the gulags. The losers of the 1966 World Cup are believed to have experienced this fate.
There were 22 North Koreans who participated in the 2018 Olympics. Along with the Olympians was a handpicked cheering squad.
The North Korean Olympians participated in figure skating, skiing and ice hockey. They were part of a joint team with South Korea. The games have concluded and the country did not medal in any events. Kim Jong Un is surely disappointed, his family once famously sentenced the World Cup losers to concentration camps to suffer for their losing effort.
Per Fox News:
A survivor of the North Korea gulags, according to the U.K.’s Daily Star, wrote about meeting the World Cup squad at the Yodok gulag, where the team reportedly said they were imprisoned for losing 5-3 to Portugal.
In 2010, the losing North Korea World Cup team reportedly endured a six-hour “grand debate” in which they were criticized for their “betrayal of the trust of Kim Jong Un,” South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo reported.
“Considering the high hopes North Koreans had for the World Cup, the regime could have done worse things to the team than just reprimand them for their ideological shortcomings,” an intelligence source told the outlet at the time.
“In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps,” the source added.
North Korea has only won two Winter Olympic medals: a silver and a bronze, in speedskating and short-track speedskating. Kim has long pushed for stronger athletes, and in 2015 vowed to improve the country’s lackluster record.
Though Kim called for a stronger effort, North Korea did not even have a roster ready for the Olympics until January.