North and South Korea gymnasts at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have shown the world a brief moment of unity, in the form of a selfie.Lee Eun-ju of South Korea and Hong Un-jong of the North took a quick smiling snapshot during the training period before the start of the Games.The pictures of the two women have been widely praised as capturing the Olympic spirit.North and South Korea are technically still at war with each other.And relations between the two have been more tense in recent months, with recent missile launches from Pyongyang.
“This is why we do the Olympics,” tweeted political scientist Ian Bremmer. His tweet was retweeted more than 18,000 times.”Sports brings everyone together,” said another user on Twitter.Others hailed it as the “most iconic photo” of the games.Some users however, took a more cynical point of view.”Is she allowed to fraternise with the enemy?” was one such question asked, while others questioned whether Hong might face punishment on her return home.Lee, 17, and 27-year-old Hong both competed as individual qualifiers, with the games in Brazil being Lee’s first Olympics.Hong became North Korea’s first gymnast to win a medal at the Olympic Games when she took home the gold in vault in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.Many users were quick to point out the contrasting attitudes portrayed by the South and North Korean athlete in comparison to the Lebanese Olympic Team, who allegedly refused to ride on the same bus with Israeli athletes.According to Udi Gal, a member of Israel’s Olympic sailing team, the organisers intervened and the two teams travelled separately to “prevent an international and physical incident”, he said in a post on Facebook.”How could they let this happen on the eve of the Olympic Games? Isn’t this the opposite of what the Olympics represents?” he added.Lebanon and Israel are officially at war and have no diplomatic relations.However, they weren’t the only two countries to get off to a rocky start.Chinese authorities clashed with Australian Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton, after he called Chinese defending champion Sun Yang a “drug cheat”.”We think his inappropriate words greatly hurt the feelings between Chinese and Australian swimmers,” said China’s swimming team manager Xu Qi to Chinese news outlet Xinhua. “We strongly demand an apology.”Users on social media also quickly flooded Horton’s social media with angry comments.”Horton is a loser because of his bad behaviour. Maybe he won gold in the game but he will never win in life,” said one person on Twitter.