North Korea Withdraws From 2021 Tokyo Olympics Citing COVID Fears

Apr 7, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  

North Korea has become the first nation to pull out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to COVID-19 fears.

The decision was made at an Olympic committee meeting on 25 March, according to a report by the state-run site Sports. North Korea claims to have zero recorded cases of COVID-19, a claim that experts think is unlikely, but still imposed stringent measures including shutting its borders and quarantining foreigners.

The Tokyo Olympics were initially scheduled to run in July 2020 but had to be postponed after Canada and Australia threatened to withdraw from the Games if they were not delayed. While it has never entered any athletes in the cross country mountain biking event, North Korea is the first, and so far only, nation to pull out of the rescheduled 2021 event and, while we doubt it has the same influence as Canada and Australia, if higher-profile nations follow its lead it could lead to the Games being in jeopardy again.

Earlier in February, the Tokyo 2021 Organizing Committee President said the Games would happen "regardless of the pandemic situation", however there have been growing concerns that Japan could be on the verge of a fourth wave of the virus due to more infectious strains being detected. Recently, a preparatory event was cancelled after seven Covid infections broke out at a training camp for the Japanese water polo team and the Osaka leg of the Olympic torch relay has also been cancelled after infections in the city hit record highs.

We'll be keeping an eye on the status of the Games in the run-up to the event and will update you with any news as it comes in.


  • 245 4
 Alternate headline:

Dick Pound shafted by surprise pull-out!
  • 17 4
 Lots of commenters poised to shove a Dick Pound joke in there somewhere.
  • 9 1
 North Korea refuses to accept Dick Pound and Olympic committee ultimatum.
  • 3 1
 The return of the king
  • 189 7
 Obviously, we won everything last year so have no need to go back this year.
  • 20 153
flag lalientoxc (Apr 7, 2021 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 Obviously there wasn’t any competitions nor olympics last year. So your claims of winning anything are as true as your claims that the leaders in your country don’t use the toilet.
  • 110 10
 Ps please don’t bomb my country
  • 10 4
 @lalientoxc: lmfaooo savage
  • 29 3
 @lowlightlowlife I guess some Wally didn't get the irony in your comment...
  • 7 1
 @lalientoxc: Note that he lives in Wales mate, the comment is irony, it's not serious... he probably just selected the country as his home country for a laugh.
  • 68 1
 @landscapeben: Don't ruin the Illusion. I definitely live in North Korea.
  • 7 0
 @lowlightlowlife: My humble apologies Robin
  • 1 1
 @landscapeben: I'm sure it was that flag. Subtle irony, no?
  • 9 1
 @RayDolor: Yeah, how many people do you suppose are actually mountain biking in North Korea and are allowed a Pinkbike account?
  • 19 0
 @landscapeben: Probably fewer than their claimed total of Covid cases.....
  • 17 0
 @lalientoxc: the down vote upvote differential between your 2 adjacent comments is staggering. Has to be some sort of record
  • 4 0
 @sk133872: Yeah, usually below threshold comments are followed by 12 more (below threshold) comments descending further into madness.
  • 1 0
 This profile is impossible... First time to see live flag on the internet
  • 1 0
 Expect fire, furry and new mountain bike trails soon. America going to invade, once smoke settles and all that remains is dirt/ash we will take your country and build on big bike park. Might be a few years for radiation to wear off.
  • 1 0
 @trollhunter: usAYY coming for north Wales
  • 107 3
 Dammit I was really looking forward to watching North Korea compete in the 1500m dash. They should be experts at it.
  • 24 0
 hahaha... oh.
  • 8 0
 Steeple-Chased by armed soldiers.
  • 4 1
 lol, by that logic South Korea would still be better...
  • 78 1
 why do experts think that the claim "zero recorded cases of COVID-19" is unlikely? If you don't record the cases, the statement is always true
  • 25 1
 They kill everyone that’s gets Covid
  • 16 1
 1015: North Korea has 121 confirmed COVID cases.
1017: North Korea has zero COVID cases.
  • 62 0
 Plot twist: we all die and North Korea repopulates earth.
  • 36 3
 Twist plot twist: North Korea has an effective vaccine. A fatal one.
  • 16 0
 @Notmeatall: Can't die from covid if you die from the north korean vaccine.
  • 38 1
 Too bad. I was hoping to witness how Lil'Kim wins in all categories.
  • 4 7
 Comment gold
  • 1 0
 he's got the magic stick.
  • 25 0
 That's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for them.
  • 20 0
 Wait , they were allowed to compete in the first place ? lol
  • 20 0
 why do we care about north korea, wtf
  • 10 0
 Other people in North Korea are allowed to be better than the Supreme Leader in something? Or is this the real reason for not going, Kim Jong Un doesn't want to have to win every event.
  • 2 0
 No, you see every one in who competes for the North Korean team is named Kim Jung Un. That way glorious leader can win by not even competing.
  • 9 0
 Any time I see news about North Korea, I can't help but start quoting lines from Team America: World Police.
  • 8 0
 This is like the national version of the old “I,too, will be racing without a frame sponsor this year” joke. Not bad NK, not bad
  • 10 1
 Who the hell is entering North Korea in order to be quarantined?
  • 4 2
 International trade
  • 8 0
 A very sensible move from a progressive, science-based administration. Also, there might be entrance fees.......
  • 2 0
 Ha! Waiting for how long it took someone to bring up the dollars and cents of it all. North Korea appears to be getting more and more cash strapped, and this is as likely related to not having the means to pay for it as anything else. To be fair, the rest of our countries all operate at a deficit, so we may not have the money to pay for it either...
  • 7 0
 Everyone had forgotten about them lol
  • 6 0
 Wow! That's just awful. I might not sleep tonight
  • 7 1
 Meanwhile...Texas will take their place.
  • 5 0
 Headline should say: North Korea Withdraws From 2021 Tokyo Olympics Citing Fear Entire Olympic Team Will Request Asylum...
  • 11 5
 Good for them.
  • 4 0
 I swear that’s also a Texaco flag from some past era
  • 4 0
 Not so crever now Mr Brix...
  • 3 0
 Well 12 meter air pistol is now up for grabs!
  • 2 0
 Damn, for like the last 4 years, I had completely forgotten they even existed.
  • 3 0
 Oh no, who's gonna get last place now?
  • 4 0
 I’m on it.
  • 3 0
 In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson: "Oh NO!.... Anyway"
  • 2 0
 Thay have robbed the tamaya logo buggers
  • 3 0
  • 2 0
 *Checks date. Nope, it's a full week after April Fool's.
  • 3 5
 Slow news day at pinkbike requires barrel scraping of news wires... only thing left is North Korea.... F++K it, im sure its a conspiracy to make the comments section buzz and get some click bait going....
  • 2 0
 Its because they can't fit any more medals on their jackets
  • 2 0
 Congratulations, you have become a moderator of r/Pyongyang.
  • 2 0
 They do have a very effective weightlifting team.
  • 2 0
 Oh please show us the bikes of the DPRK mountain bike teams!
  • 2 0
 can PB pls get a quote from ambassador Rodman
  • 2 0
 Are there any north koreans competing in XC?
  • 1 0
 I thought they were not afraid of anything.
  • 2 1
 I guess Covid-19 fears North Korean athletes too.
  • 1 0
 I don't see the problem here
  • 1 0
 To bad we can't see Kim Jong-un claim some gold medals.
  • 1 0
 They care very much for their citizens
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 It will be 911 times 2356.
  • 2 0
 Oh no! Anyways...
  • 1 0
 So ronerey, I'm so ronerey...
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
  • 3 4

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