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|September 6, 2000||
Koreas march to different drummers
International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch said on Wednesday he was not optimistic that North and South Korea would march together at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Games on September 15.
"I have to say I am not very optimistic. We received a very positive letter from South Korea accepting to march together. But until now we have no answer from North Korea."
"They wrote me a letter regarding the flag. They wanted to have only one flag. We answered that we were ready to accept a proposal but the final decision coming from North Korea until now has not arrived."
"I think at this moment there will be two different teams parading at the opening ceremony."
The North Korea issue is the main political talking point before the Sydney Games although there is the possibility of Australian aboriginal protests upsetting the Games.
Samaranch said he planned to talk to aboriginal groups on Wednesday.
"We hope to have the best possible relations with them," he said.
The IOC president also said he did not see a problem if Australian 400-metre runner Cathy Freeman were to celebrate a gold medal carrying an aboriginal flag.
"In my country in Barcelona (at the 1992 Games), an athlete won a medal and was running with the Spanish flag and also the flag of his region," Samaranch said. "We will not stop an athlete from running with a flag."
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