Cheering for Other Countries in the Olympics.

Ryan Fredrick, Reporter

There are a group of South Koreans known as the “Korean Supporters”. The “Korean Supporters” have dedicated their Olympic purpose to a different mission than most: cheering for countries other than their own.

“It’s just sports. It’s okay to support other countries and other athletes,” according to an interview with founder Moon Sang Ju in an article from The

Head of Communications for the Korean Supporter, Ki Yang Chang  said the group, which has about 100,000 registered members, has brought about 200 volunteers to Seoul’s Incheon Airport most days of the Winter Olympics to happily accompany Olympic athletes and tourists as they take their first steps on Korean soil, according to an article from The

“It’s so cool that South Korea is cheering for other countries. Patriotism is awful, especially when it comes to sports. Why do people, especially Americans, feel the need to think that they are better than every other country. I know the stereotype is that America is culturally unaccepting, but at this point, it’s not even funny, it’s disgusting,” sophomore Shelby Crim said.

Once the Games begin, there are plans to assign squads of about 100 to 120 Korean Supporters to each Olympic event. The Supporters buy their own tickets and are encouraged to cheer in the native tongue of the athletes they are tasked with supporting.

“We’re cheering in Russian, English, Chinese, Japanese,” said Ki. “We’re going to have chants. We’re going to call out phrases. We’re going to wave flags.”

They even showed off the North Korean flag, which is normally banned because of the  tension between the two countries. The Korean Supporters do not plan to let old grudges ruin the spirit of their cause, according to the article.

“I think that South Korea cheering for other people is just so wholesome. It feels so good. It’s like slowly the world is becoming more and more wholesome,” sophomore Julia Clements said.

The organization was founded by businessman Moon Sang Ju in the lead-up to the 2002 World Cup of soccer, co-hosted by South Korea and Japan. Moon’s idea at the time, he said, was to help improve his country’s global image and to promote world peace.

““I love that South Korea is cheering for other countries. It makes me feel all good inside. They are right, the Olympics are just sports, it doesn’t matter if you cheer for your own country,” senior Andrew Pichotta said.

The official tagline of the 2018 Olympics goes: “Passion. Connected.” For the Korean Supporters, it is more like: “Passion. Practised.” The group has its own song and its own dance. It has its own uniform.

“The entire world is one family, even if we’re from different countries,” said Moon, 72, also speaking through a translator. “It’s just sports. It’s okay to support other countries and other athletes.”