Rio 2016: Selfie Between South Korean and North Korean Gymnasts Becomes Instant Icon of Unity

Rio 2016: Selfie Between South Korean and North Korean Gymnasts Becomes Instant Icon of Unity

A simple selfie taken by two young Olympic gymnasts has already become one of the iconic moments of the Rio games.


South Korea’s Lee Eun Ju and and North Korean gymnast Hong Un Jong shared an amicable moment that belied the bitter feud between their home nations.

The pair were seen chatting and laughing together as they prepared to compete in the qualification for the artistic women’s gymnastics.

Moments later they posed for a selfie together.

North Korea and South Korea are are well known for their prowess in the sport and both have produced many world-class gymnasts.

Other countries competing in the tournament have not been quite so good at upholding the Olympic spirit of friendship.

Serbian officials have reportedly told their athletes not to appear on any of the medal stands alongside their Kosovian counterparts – despite their athletes only sharing two events.

Kosovo is competing in its first Olympic games since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It only has seven athletes competing at the games and only two are taking part in the same event as Serbia.

Backstage, tensions are also running high after the Lebanese Olympic team refused to share a bus with their Israeli counterpartson the way to the opening ceremony.

Israel and Lebanon have no diplomatic relations as part of the longstanding conflict between Israel and the Arab states.

Israel invaded Lebanon during a month-long war against Hezbollah guerrillas in 2006 – which led to the deaths of an estimated 1,200 Lebanese people, including hundreds of civilians.

And US swimming hopeful Lilly White highlighted the biggest political controversy of the tournament when she waged her finger at her Russian rival, Yuliya Efimova.

Ms Efimova successfully overturned a decision to stop her competing in the games after she served a previous suspension for doping.

The inclusion of many of the Russian team despite allegations of systematic doping has been criticised by many and they were officially blocked from the Paralympics Games due to start on 7 September.

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