What happens if a North Korean athlete defects? Disaster

“It will never happen,” a South Korean official responded with a good-natured sneer when I asked him. “Impossible.” Or so he hoped. A defection, good for Pence and Trump, would be a diplomatic disaster for the government of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, which could not give a defector back, but could not accept one without scuppering what Moon hopes is a major opening for peace.

How difficult would it be, in fact, for one of those North Koreans to steal the show by defecting—or trying to?

Both North and South Korean organizers clearly were taking no chances.