North Korea has officially been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has barred the country from the Beijing Games as punishment for withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympic on late notice.
At the time, North Korean officials claimed their decision was to protect its athletes from the 'world public health crisis'.
It was the first time the country has missed a Summer Games since the 1988 Seoul competition.
As a result, no North Korean competitors flew out to Tokyo earlier this year and represented their country on the world stage.
Their withdrawal from the 2020 Games would have been devastating for some of the athletes, but it seems even future stars are now being impacted by that decision too.
The country, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, has now been slapped with a pretty hefty punishment.
A statement from the IOC read: "Throughout the process, the PRK NOC was given a fair opportunity to be heard, and received very clear warnings about the consequences of its position and the fact that any violation of the Olympic Charter would ultimately expose the PRK NOC to the measures and sanctions provided in the Olympic Charter."
The IOC went on to add that vaccines for athletes were 'systematically rejected' by North Korean officials.
IOC boss Thomas Bach said at a news conference: "They were violating the Olympic Charter and did not fulfil their obligation as stated in the Olympic Charter to participate."
It's understood some individual athletes may be given an exemption to compete, however they would have to do it under the Olympic banner - not their country.
The ban placed on North Korea has also been handed down to send a message to other countries thinking of boycotting the Games in China to protest against human rights abuses, according to USA Today.
Bach also announced that the sport's governing body in North Korea will also forfeit large sums of money that it was due from previous Olympic Games.
During the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, North Korea sent 22 athletes to compete.
They marched together with South Korean competitors during the opening ceremony, which was hailed as a massive step towards peace.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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