U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley: Whether U.S. Athletes Attend The 2018 Winter Olympics Is An ‘Open Question’

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The Winter 2018 Games will already be an unusual Olympics, what with Russia being banned because of its mass doping program. Not only that, but it’s been a long time since the Olympics was so overshadowed by the international political climate, so it’s sure to feel extra chilly in South Korea this February.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told Fox News that the U.S. is still doesn’t know if it will attend the 2018 Games, slated for February 9-25 in Pyeongchang:

“There’s an open question. I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem or North Korea — it’s about, how do we protect the US citizens in the area?”

Indeed, North Korea has been urging Americans and other foreigners to leave South Korea since at least September. Those notices were just scare tactics, but Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has followed them up with a very real warning for Americans in the region — evacuate now. “I want [the Pentagon] to stop sending dependents,” Graham told CBS’s Face the Nation. “And I think it’s now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea.”

So, is now the time to move the world’s most elite athletes closer to North Korea? Haley provided more perspective:

“I think those are conversations we are going to have to have, but what have we always said? We don’t ever fear anything, we live our lives. And certainly that is a perfect opportunity for all of them to go and do something they have worked so hard for. What we will do is, we will make sure that we’re taking every precaution possible to make sure that they’re safe and to know everything that’s going on around them.”

Back in 2011, there was no way the International Olympic Committee could have glimpsed seven years into the future when they were deciding between South Korea, Germany, and France. Who could have predicted that North Korea would be making threats of war while Donald Trump (then subject of a White House Correspondents roast) trades schoolyard insults with Kim Jong-un? But since those are now the circumstances, it’s up to participating countries to decide how to make the best of them.

(Via Fox News & CNN)