The London Olympics kicked off with a massive own goal yesterday as the organizers at Hampden Park in Glasgow presented big-screen images of the South Korean flag alongside pictures of North Korea’s women football players at the start of their game against Columbia, angering the North Korean team and delaying the match.
The North Korean team swiftly exited the field in protest following the error. It took more than an hour before the correct flag could be displayed and Olympic organizers were able to persuade the team to come back onto the pitch. The game finally ended in a 2-0 win for North Korea.
The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games quickly issued a statement acknowledging the misrepresentation and saying, “Clearly that is a mistake. We will apologize to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure no repeat.”
"Winning the game cannot compensate this,” North Korean coach Shin Ui Gun later commented. "We were angry because our players were shown as if they were from South Korea which affects us very greatly. Our players cannot be shown especially with other flags, especially the South Korean one. If this matter had not been solved, continuing would have been a nonsense."
Meanwhile, the Group G game on July 31st in Manchester between North Korea and the United States, two of the best teams in women's football, is among the most keenly anticipated in the tournament. The United States also won their opening game yesterday, beating France 4-2.
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