Officials of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) said that they’ve never backtracked on sending a team to Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Winter Olympics in February next year.
The confusion was triggered by US Ambassador of the UN Nikki Haley who said that it’s still an “open question” whether or not the White House will send a contingent to South Korea because of the threat posed by its unpredictable cousin.
Then White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee also confirmed that the US team to the Winter Olympics not yet a done deal. However, in a Twitter post immediately after, she said that country will participate in the South Korean games.
Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO, chalked the mixed signals to “miscommunication” considering that the White House has no say on whether the country will send a team to Olympics events. For one, the committee is not a federal agency.
“We’re going to take teams to Pyeongchang unless it’s physically impossible or legally impossible,” he said.
Meanwhile, Larry Probst, USOC chairman, said this wasn’t the first time that athletes knew about the security threat just like in the Sochi Olympics in Russia three years ago. “Once got there, got on the ground, it was incredibly secure and everyone felt safe. I think it will be the same in Pyeongchang,” he added.
The miscommunication, however, got athletes riled up with Lindsey Vonn, considered among the best women downhill skiiers, saying that she’s not going to be in the Winter Olympics to represent Donald Trump but rather her country.
“I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremonies,” Vonn said.
She also said that she won’t be going to the White House if Trump extends an invitation to the US Olympic team for a meet-and-greet.