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Title Does Argentina Also Send Athletes to Pyeongchang?
No 61 Inquiry 1407 Date 2018.01.22

The countdown to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, a festival of the world’s winter sport enthusiasts, has finally started. Including Korea, many countries have entered the last stage of preparation for the Olympic Games, while issues such as Russian doping scandal, nonparticipation of the athletes of the North American Ice Hockey League (NHL), and particularly, breakthrough conversation between South and North Koreas after a long interval make headlines every day. Half a world away in Argentina where it is summer now, Argentines also fix their eyes on the games. Prominent newspapers have created an independent section for the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang to provide the public with related news in real time, focusing on the mood between two Koreas these days.


<The Olympic Winter Games section of La Nacion, Argentina's largest daily newspaper, is plastered with news articles about the inter-Korean issues.>

Since the release of the new year message of Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, Argentine newspapers have assigned more space to the positions of two Koreas than the Olympic Winter Games. As North Korea has brought fear and concerns in the international community with its provocations and nuclear tests until recently, inter-Korean high-level talks and their discussion on a joint team and a joint parade at the opening ceremony are worthy of such attention. This mood for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula created before the Olympic Games, which symbolizes the unity of the global citizens is increasing the interest in the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang among the people of Argentina, where winter sports are not so popular.


<The news article of Clarín about María Cecilia Domínguez, who qualified for the Olympic Games in the women's Biathlon competition for the first time in 20 years.>

Then, does Argentina also send its athletes to PyeongChang? The answer is yes. More than 10 Argentine nationals will compete in events such as Biathlon, Snowboard, Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Luge, and Speed Skating. Because many athletes from around the world still show much better performance than Argentine athletes, Argentine athletes may have to settle for a place among the also-rans. Nevertheless, they have been preparing very hard for the past four years and each shows a great passion. María Cecilia Domínguez, from Río Negro, qualified for the women's Biathlon competition in this Olympic Winter Games. She has been skiing for more than 20 years and is the top player in South America, but won the ticket to the Olympic Winter Games in Biathlon for the first time in 20 years.
"I am the only athlete in my family. Biathlon requires a large amount of cost. I have to spend much on my rifles as well as skis. So I am sponsored and supported by the military and various organizations," Domínguez said in an interview with Clarín. "I cannot fully devote myself to the sport for various reasons. I work as a building designer, so I usually practice in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon, too."
Argentina is one of the few Central and South American countries along with Chile where people can enjoy skiing, and has a long history of the Olympic Winter Games. It had participated in the 1928 games held in St. Moritz, Swiss. (Korea first attended the Olympic Winter Games in 1948.) At the games, two teams (10 athletes in total) participated in the men's Bobsleigh competition, each ranking 4th and 5th. In 1992, the country also sent a delegation of 20 athletes, the largest ever, to Albertville, France. Although it has been on the list of participating countries ever since, it has not yet won any medal.



Steven Williams, who earned a ticket to the men's Snowboard Cross competition, mentioned world champion Pierre Vaultier as his rival. Although Vaultier is more of his idol than his rival, Williams' enthusiasm and determination never lag behind. Could Argentine athletes break through the prejudices against South American players and burst their potential? The people of Argentina on the southern hemisphere will spend a much hotter February this year.