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27-day journey of unified Korean women’s ice hockey team

August 24, 2019


The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics has been
full of amazing wins and shock defeats, but you could argue that the biggest story of
these Games was the formation of the unified Korean women’s ice hockey team. Their journey together lasted less than four
weeks,… and they couldn’t manage a victory,… but the coming together of the two Koreas
on the ice will go down in history. Lee Seung-jae reports. While the possibility of a joint-Korean women’s
ice hockey team was first raised in June of last year,… the decision to actually form
it was only announced on January 20th. Head coach Sarah Murray found herself in an
unusual spot,… accepting a group of outsiders into the squad just five days later… and
being tasked with making them play as a fluid unit at the Games. What started as an awkward atmosphere in the
locker room,… gradually turned warm…. with the South Korean players throwing a surprise
birthday party for one of their new North Korean teammates. Having broken the ice on a personal level,..
the joint team were thrown straight into it… with a friendly match on February 4th against
Sweden,… one of the best teams in the world. And a mere six days later,… history was
made once again,… as the joint-team took to the ice for their first game of the Olympics
against Switzerland. Unfortunately for them,… the standard of
the opposition was too great and they lost heavily in that match and to Sweden in their
second match. However,… in their third preliminary game,…
the team managed to find the back of the net in a 4-1 loss to Japan. Korean-adoptee Randi Heesoo Griffin scored
the famous goal …and that very puck already has pride of place at the Hockey Hall of Fame
in Toronto, Canada. While the squad — consisting of 23 South
Koreans and 12 North Koreans — finished the Olympics winless,… the message of peace
was as special as a place on the podium. Their 27-day journey has come to an emotional
end,… but many wonder now,… if their sporting union could provide the spark for a more peaceful
relationship between the two Koreas. Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.

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