George Graham

Peace Through Sports


You may have heard the story about German and English soldiers suspending hostilities for a soccer match during World War I.

I was reminded of that story recently when I heard North Korea is taking part in the Winter Olympics next month in South Korea.

I understand the North and South Koreans will march together under a common flag at the opening ceremonies.

And the two nations plan to field a joint women’s ice hockey team. They may also compete as a single team in other sports.

Who knows? That might be the breakthrough the world has been hoping for in the terrifying nuclear standoff between North Korea and the US. If the two Koreas find a way to end their mutual bellicosity, it could lead to agreement with America.

Sports can be a powerful agent of peace.

According to the American Psychology Association:

Organized sports have enjoyed an honored tradition of promoting peaceful international relations among diverse people as nations compete without strife and in spite of geopolitical differences.

The Olympics has a special history of promoting peace. The Olympic Flame is a reminder of the ancient Greek tradition of a truce between warring states competing in the games.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is a sports fan. His view of basketball star Dennis Rodman, for example, is quite different from the way he sees Donald Trump.

It’s possible that sports could soften Kim’s hardline attitude where Trump’s nuclear threats have failed.

The Olympics and the two Koreas

Kim and Dennnis

The World War I soccer match

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for