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Thomas Bach: PyeongChang Olympics ‘very close’ to being canceled

SportAccord 2018 - Day 4

BANGKOK, THAILAND - APRIL 18: IOC President Thomas Bach addresses during the IOC ASOIF Joint Meeting on day four of the SportAccord at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre on April 18, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images)

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IOC president Thomas Bach said the PyeongChang Olympics were “very close” to being canceled in a CNN interview published Tuesday.

“For cancellation of the Games, the threshold is not military action,” Bach said, after referencing North Korea’s missile tests and the threat of a military strike. “The threshold is that one country would say we are not going because we do not see there the safety and security of our athletes being guaranteed. There, the discussions were not always very easy, to say it diplomatically.”

Both the PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics were held without known security disruptions in February and March. North Korea accepted an invitation to participate, with some if its athletes joining South Koreans for a unified women’s hockey team.

Afterward, Thomas Bach met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang and said that Kim supported a plan to have North Koreans compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

The only times the Olympics were canceled came during World War I (1916) and World War II (1940, 1944).

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