athlete diplomats

The next effort to defuse the nuclear brinksmanship over North Korea’s missile and bomb testing may come, not from diplomats, but from a pair of North Korean figure skaters who perform to music by the Beatles. An obscure competition on Thursday and Friday here in Bavaria has gained geopolitical urgency as the pairs team of Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik seek to become the first North Korean athletes to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Sports fans and athletes from Colombia took to social media to criticise the government's plans to slash next year's national sports budget by 60 percent. [...] Thousands of Colombians have started an online campaign called #NoRecuertenMisSuenos (Don't Slash My Dreams), extolling their country's athletes and calling on the government to reverse its decision.

He can still dunk like a butterfly, but in the personally tragic case of former basketball pro Dennis Rodman in North Korea, the embrace of Kim Jong Un and his policies sting like a bee. Rodman is the most recent example of sports diplomacy gone awry. With the Sochi Olympics starting, a new cadre of unpredictable athlete diplomats will likely take the stage.