How Did N.Korean Cheerleaders Get Tickets to Olympics Matches?

By Jun Hyun-suk | February 19, 2018 13:11

North Korean cheerleaders visited a men's hockey match last Thursday to show their support for the South Korean team, which competed against the Czech Republic in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Tickets for the game were nearly sold out because it was the first match of the men's ice hockey team and many fans came as the day was the start of the Lunar New Year break. But some 220 North Korean cheerleaders could get the most expensive seats right behind the goal, which cost W150,000 (US$1=W1,079).

Earlier in the day, North Korean cheerleaders also attended a figure skating event to root for North Korean pair Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik and sat all together in seats that cost W400,000. Tickets for figure skating events are usually very hard to get as they are most popular winter sport.

North Korean cheerleaders attend the ice hockey match between South Korea and Czech Republic in Gangneung, Gangwon Province last Thursday. /Yonhap

North Korea announced it was sending 229 cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics on Jan. 9, and at that time it was already impossible to book any group tickets. So how did the cheerleaders secure them?

The organizing committee claims it gathered tickets that had not been sold because they were so expensive. It says it also "sought the cooperation" of various sports organizations that had bought group tickets.

Some provincial governments donated tickets they had reserved for low-income people.

For the inter-Korean women's ice hockey matches on Feb. 10, 12 and 14, the 220 North Korean cheerleaders had to sit separately in groups of 20 to 50 because the organizing committee failed to secure group seats.

A Unification Ministry official said, "The tickets for North Korean cheerleaders will be paid using the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund." They are estimated to cost the government more than W1 billion.
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