Olympics chief Rogge hopes "symbolic" gesture between two Koreas

Olympics chief Rogge hopes "symbolic" gesture between two Koreas

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said Thursday that he would suggest a joint parade or joint team between the two Koreas in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, DPA reported.

"There could be symbolic actions together like a joint parade," he said, adding North and South Koreas could participate as a joint team.

In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, "the two teams paraded together in the opening ceremony," Rogge recalled.

But Rogge, who was in Tokyo to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Japanese Olympic Committee, said North Korea would not co-host the 2018 Winter Olympics with the South.

According to the Yonhap news agency, North Korea's IOC member Chang Ung hoped that his country could co-host the 2018 Games.

"The IOC awards the Games to one city in one country," Rogge said.

"As far as spreading venues between the two countries, that is something that we do not consider under the current Olympic charter," he said.

Meanwhile, some Japanese were concerned that Pyeongchang's victory last week over Munich and Annecy had reduced Tokyo's chance of winning a potential bid in the 2020 Olympic Games as the two countries are so close and the event would be only two years apart.

Tokyo is expected to announce a decision on whether the Japanese capital will run sometime this week, the Kyodo News agency said.

"That's absolutely not a problem," Rogge said.

"There is a perception that there is an automatic rotation of continents. This is not the case," he said. "You had the Albertville Winter Games [in France] in 1992 followed two years later by Lillehammer, Norway, Winter Games."

"You had the same with the Summer Games in Athens in 2004, followed by the Winter Games in Torino in 2006. You have the situation of the London Games in 2012, followed by the Winter Games in Sochi also in Europe in 2014."

"So there is no rule on that. We go for quality, we do not go for continents," Rogge said.

In Japan, many people are disappointed with the absence of baseball and softball in the 2012 London Games.

While baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan, women's softball team won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Rogge said professional players in football, ice hockey and tennis have participated in the Olympics.

"The best athletes do want to participate in the Olympics," Rogge said.

But he said that was not the case in baseball.

"The best players continued to play in the major leagues" in the United States during the Olympics, he said.

When it comes to football, "we are happy with the current system" in which players who can participate in the Olympics are under 23 years old and each team can field three "over-age" players.

That allows big stars such as Lionel Messi in Argentine to participate in the Olympics, he said.

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