South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-Ju and and North Korean gymnast Hong Un-Jong took a quick selfie yesterday during the women’s gymnastics qualifying competition in Rio.
The photo was just an innocent snap between two world-class athletes, but it’s causing quite a happy stir across social media.
Gymnasts from North & South Korea take a selfie together. This is why we do the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/Id44OuehN3— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) August 5, 2016
Korea has been divided since 1945. The North was backed by the Soviets and the South was backed by democratic forces. Yet even after the Iron Curtain fell, the two countries remained hostile, with periodic military and diplomatic clashes often occurring on the countries’ border, known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
Yet the gymnasts’ photo shows that despite the years of political animosity, sports has the ability to supersede politics.
Un-Jong is currently in second place in women’s vault. In 2008, Un-Jong won the gold in the women’s vault, and in 2014, she was world champion in the event, beating Simone Biles by just 0.045 points.
Eun-Ju is a relative newcomer to the sport. At 17, she is representing her country in the Olympics for the first time.