As North Koreans return home this week from the Pyeongchang Winter Games, possibly without any medals, Olympians hope to avoid the gulags — a fate the losers of the 1966 World Cup are believed to have experienced.
Twenty-two North Koreans participated in the 2018 Olympics, with the support of the nation’s handpicked cheering squad, for the regime’s ninth representation in a Winter Games.
Competing in figure skating, skiing and ice hockey — as part of a joint team with South Korea — the country has failed to medal in any event, surely disappointing leader Kim Jong Un, whose family allegedly sentenced the failed World Cup athletes to concentration camps for the loss.
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. (Read more from “North Korea’s Failed Olympians Hope to Avoid Dangerous Consequences” HERE)