What's Buzzing:

Fourth-Place Medal

North Korea women’s soccer team refuses to take field over flag dispute

Jay Busbee
Fourth-Place Medal

The North Korean players were depicted next to the flag for South Korea. (Photo via @jamescrossan)

The Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games has not even begun, and we have our first political controversy.

On Wednesday, the North Korea women's soccer team refused to take the field for approximately an hour at Hampden Park in Glasgow because of a political slight. As North Korea was preparing to take the field for its match against Colombia, the scoreboard introduced the North Korea players with South Korea's flag beside their pictures.

Both teams returned to their locker rooms for a brief stay, but took the field soon afterward to begin warm-ups for the game.

[ Related: Greek jumper kicked off team for racist tweet ]

London's Olympic committee issued a hasty apology:

"Today ahead of the women's football match at Hampden the South Korean flag was shown on a big screen instead of Flag NK," a statement from the Games organizers read. "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."

North Korea's action adds to the long list of political protests that have delayed or disrupted past Olympic Games:

• Most notoriously, Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games.

• The United States and 60 other countries pulled out of the 1980 Games in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviets and a dozen allies refused to attend the 1984 games in retaliation.

[ Video: Palestinian terrorists rocked the 1972 Munich Games ]

• In 1976, 32 African countries stayed out of the Montreal Olympics to protest a move by New Zealand's rugby team to tour then-segregated South Africa.

• American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a Black Power salute on the medal podium in the 1968 Games in Mexico City.

• In 2004, Iranian judo competitor Arash Miresmaeili allegedly ate himself out of his weight class in order to avoid fighting Ehud Vaks of Israel to show solidarity with Palestine.

Related video:

More Olympic coverage on the Yahoo! Sports network:
Top Chinese gymnast hurt as equipment called into question
U.S. women's soccer roars back to beat France in opener
Experience Phelps' history-making performance in Beijing

View Comments (417)
  • Akpom scores deciding goal as Arsenal tops MLS All-Stars 2-1

    Akpom scores deciding goal as Arsenal tops MLS All-Stars 2-1

    Chuba Akpom scored the deciding goal in the 87th minute from about 4 yards out on a cross from the left side by Nacho Monreal, and Arsenal topped the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in the Major League Soccer All-Star Game on Thursday. Once Arsenal's young … More »

    AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
  • Olympics-Tennis-Djokovic stands between Murray and second gold

    By Drazen Jorgic ISLAMABAD, July 29 (Reuters) - Britain's Andy Murray, bristling with confidence after ending a three-year wait for another grand slam title at Wimbledon, will seek to make history in Brazil by becoming the first man to win … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Olympics-Volleyball-Brazil seek gold sweep on home court

    By Joshua Schneyer July 29 (Reuters) - In Brazil it is often said that volleyball is the country's favorite sport, because soccer is a religion. Brazil's deep well of volleyball talent and home court advantage make its women's and men's teams … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Olympics-Taekwondo-Martial art mixes it up at Rio

    By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE, July 29 (Reuters) - Taekwondo's battle for relevance at the Olympics continues at the Rio de Janeiro Games, with tournament organisers introducing coloured pants and a mixed martial arts flavour in a bid to spice up the … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Olympics-Hockey-Australia the team to beat at Rio

    By Sudipto Ganguly MUMBAI, July 29 (Reuters) - Germany might be the twice Olympic champions defending their title in men's field hockey but top-ranked Australia will be the team to beat at next month's Rio Games. Since 1992 Australia have won a … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago