The U.S. Olympic Committee said it intends to send a full delegation of Olympic and Paralympic athletes to Pyeongchang, South Korea, calling recent comments from the Trump administration about potentially holding the U.S. team back a “miscommunication.”
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, suggested earlier this week that it was an “open question” whether the United States would send its athletes to the Winter Games in light of the ongoing tensions with neighboring North Korea. Later, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a press briefing that “no official decision has been made” on the U.S. team’s participation.
In a press conference following a USOC board meeting on Friday, CEO Scott Blackmun said the USOC was “a little bit surprised” by the comments but that “there was some miscommunication there rather than anything that was intended to be substantial” in the administration’s comments. “We are going to take a team to Pyeongchang unless it’s physically impossible or legally impossible to do that,” he said.
In other news, Blackmun said the USOC is still exploring a potential bid to host a future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, but added that 2030 may be more realistic than 2026, the next event open for bids. “In all candor, I think we’re leaning more in the 2030 direction,” he said. “We haven’t made any formal decisions.”
Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno/Tahoe have all expressed interest in a potential bid for 2026, although agreements that would need to be reached on marketing and sponsorship with the Los Angeles effort to host the 2028 Olympic Summer Games may complicate that timeline. Blackmun said the USOC has been in dialogue with each city and region interested in the Winter Games. “We’re very excited about the prospects of hosting but there’s nothing tangible to report in the way of timing,” he said.