If one believed in spirits, it would be tempting to imagine that of Baron Pierre De Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics, hovering approvingly over the proposed meeting between representatives of North and South Korea in the demilitarised zone that lies between them.
Top of the agenda on Tuesday (January 9) is the possibility of North Korea taking part in the Winter Olympics that its next-door neighbour will host in Pyeongchang next month.
For De Coubertin, one of the main reasons for the revival of the Ancient Olympics in modern times was the prospect of making it, in effect, a quadrennial demilitarised zone that would allow all who wished to take part in peace and sporting fellowship.
"The Olympic Games are for the world and all nations must be admitted to them," De Coubertin said.
"May joy and good fellowship reign, and in this manner, may the Olympic Torch pursue its way through ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of a humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and more pure."
At the end of the Second World War, Korea - which had been part of the Japanese Empire for 35 years - was occupied by the Soviet Union in the north and the United States in the south. With the Cold War freezing out any possibility of unification, the northern and southern areas established themselves as, respectively, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.
Each, however, claimed sovereignty over the entire Korean peninsula, which led to the war between 1950 and 1953 for which no peace treaty has yet been signed.
Over the last two years tensions in the region have escalated, with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the United States President, Donald Trump, recently exchanging personal insults and nuclear threats.
But the first official talks to be held between the two countries since December 2015 have become a possibility following the announcement that South Korea and the US will halt joint military exercises during the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
Kim announced in his New Year's Day speech that North Korea hoped to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 and, according to a recent report in Kyodo News, North Korea's International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung told reporters in Beijing that his nation is "likely to participate".
The growing sense of optimism will have been further stimulated by Trump's comment this weekend that he would "absolutely" be open to a phone discussion with his North Korean counterpart, adding: "I always believe in talking".
The meeting between the two nations, set to take place at the Peace House in Panmunjeom, will be of pressing personal interest to pairs skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik, who are the only North Korean athletes so far to have qualified for Pyeongchang 2018.
They missed a deadline last month to accept their places, but that is a piece of red tape that will be very stretched should the need arise, and it is believed that other North Korean athletes may be able to attend through being given wildcards.
South Korea has been strongly supportive of North Korean involvement in the Games, which it hopes could play a part in improving relations, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Pyeongchang 2018 organisers have also voiced hopes of North Korean participation.
After 35-years of competing under the Japanese flag at the Games, Korean athletes represented their independent and unified country for the first and last time at the 1948 London Olympics.
Since then, South Korea has appeared at every Summer Olympics bar the 1980 Moscow Games, which it boycotted, and in every Winter Games apart from 1952.
North Korea did not subsequently make an Olympic appearance until 1964, when it took part in the Winter Games. Eight years later it made its first summer Olympic appearance at the Munich Games, since when it has attended every edition other than Los Angeles 1984, which it boycotted.
North Korea's attendance at recent Winter Games has been less frequent - it has taken part in only seven of the last 12, with its last appearance in the 2010 Vancouver Games.
During the 1998-2007 "Sunshine Policy" era - a time when the increasingly economically powerful South Korea attempted to bridge the gap with its economically struggling neighbour - the Olympics offered a significant opportunity for the two nations to demonstrate the "friendly understanding" of which De Coubertin spoke.
Although they still competed separately, the North Korean and South Korean athletes marched, symbolically, as one team in the Opening Ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Games.
The 2016 Rio Games offered similar opportunities as South Korean gymnast Lee Eun-Ju, and North Korea's Hong Un Jong, posed together for selfies after their competition during the women's qualification for the artistic gymnastics.
The IOC President, Thomas Bach, called it a "great gesture".
For the impending Winter Games in South Korea to encourage a rapprochement with the host's northern neighbours would represent considerably more than a great gesture.
Maybe the Games are just a convenient staging post for both sides - but if they were not there, would these promising changes in attitude have come to pass? Whether the political shifts are principled or merely pragmatic, the XII Winter Olympics appear to be facilitating them.
And should the pathway of co-operation be followed all the way to the Games which run from February 9 to 25, and the Paralympics from March 9 to 18, Pyeongchang 2018 may yet go down as one of the most significant political markers in Olympic history.
The history of the Ancient Games, which so inspired De Coubertin, did contain heartening examples of effectiveness in terms of its aim of promoting peace and understanding among nations - if only on a temporary basis.
The Olympic truce - during which wars were suspended, armies were prohibited from entering the Olympia region of Elis or threatening the Games, and legal disputes and the carrying out of death penalties was forbidden - was largely honoured.
And there were other positive political gains. An inscription on a victory statue at Olympia, site of the Ancient Games, honoured Pantarces of Elis not only for winning in the Olympic horse-races but also for making peace between the Achaeans and the Eleans, and negotiating the release of both sides' prisoners of war.
Diodorus Siculus recorded the following: "While the Olympic Games were being celebrated, Alexander the Great had it proclaimed in Olympia that all exiles should return to their cities, except those who had been charged with sacrilege or murder. He selected the oldest of his soldiers who were Macedonians and released them from service; there were 10,000 of these. He learned that many of them were in debt, and in a single day he paid their obligations..."
Olympia was also a place for announcing political alliances. Thucydides describes a 100-year military treaty between the Athenians, Argives, Mantineans and Eleans that was recorded in public inscriptions on stone pillars at the first three cities, and on a bronze pillar at Olympia.
Cover your ears if you're around, De Coubertin, but the Modern Games, particularly since the 1936 Berlin Games, have contained a preponderance of malign political influences.
The Berlin Games were viewed by the Nazi Party as an opportunity to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race. The story that the German leader, Adolf Hitler, refused to shake hands with the black African athlete who ended the Games with four golds, US sprinter and jumper Jesse Owens, is apocryphal. But the Fuhrer did snub other black team-mates of Owens.
As Owens himself attested, however, the political narrative that the ruling forces wished the Games to follow was confuted by broader-minded and generous individuals. The Berlin crowds cheered him to the echo. And German long jumper Luz Long - who would die while fighting in Italy seven years later - not only made a very public point of befriending his rival, but also offered the eventual gold medallist a crucial piece of technical advice after he had fouled two of his three efforts to qualify for the final. Which is the glory of the Games in microcosm.
But one can scroll through successive Olympics and identify a rich sequence of examples where the Games were used - and abused - for political purposes.
Neither Germany nor Japan was invited to send athletes to the first Games which followed the Second World War - the London Games of 1948. The official reason, according to Janie Hampson, author of The Austerity Olympics, was that there was no address to which to write.
Despite this, Japan - which had originally been due to host the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo - still announced its intention to send a team. But the Foreign Office again stepped in, saying this might cause "serious public resentment".
A peace settlement with Japan had yet to be signed, and it was further pointed out that, under the terms of its occupation, none of its subjects could yet leave the country.
But Hampson records that the IOC President of the time, Sigfrid Edstrom, favoured the inclusion of Germany and Japan and wrote to Lord Burghley, chairman of the Organising Committee, saying: "I am surprised that you take this attitude three years after the war has ended. We men of sport ought to show the way for the diplomats."
Palestine had been invited, but was uninvited in May 1948 following the creation of Israel. The IOC then acted to prevent a potential Arab boycott by ruling that Israel could not compete as it did not yet have an Olympic Committee.
While the IOC had been open to the idea of the Soviet Union taking part in the 1948 Games, opposition had grown within Europe since the Berlin blockade had been imposed in May.
Although the USSR had no Olympic Committee at the time, according to Hampson "the Soviet Embassy bought 18 tickets at 10s 6d each for the Opening Ceremony".
"They must have liked what they saw because shortly afterwards they declared that an Olympic team was actually on its way," Hampson added.
"The Foreign Office averted a diplomatic crisis by informing them that it was 'impracticable' to send wrestlers and gymnasts as such a late hour."
There was speculation that another reason for the Soviet no-show was a fear that Soviet athletes might defect to the West.
Indeed, the 1948 Games produced the first Olympic political defectiion when Marie Provaznikova, head of Czechoslovakia’s gymnastics federation, announced as the team was preparing to return home that she would be staying in London.
Among other factors, she cited the restrictions imposed after the coup in February that had seen her country taken into the Soviet bloc. “There is no freedom of speech, of the press, or of the parliament,” she said.
A huge Soviet team attended the 1952 Helsinki Games - with a huge political point to make. Initial plans to house its athletes in Leningrad and fly them into Finland each day were dropped when separate housing facilities were offered for Eastern-bloc athletes.
The 1956 Melbourne Games suffered from three separate protests. China withdrew after the IOC recognised Taiwan, and would not return to the Olympics until 1980. Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted in protest at Israel's invasion of the Sinai Peninsula, while Spain, Switzerland and The Netherlands boycotted over the Soviet invasion of Hungary.
The 1968 Mexico City Olympics were disfigured by the slaughter of hundreds of students and other protesters against the Government after they had gathered in the city suburb of Tlatelolco ten days before the start of the Games. The marchers were attempting to exploit the international interest raised by the Games to make their protest over economic and political suppression.
The 1972 Munich Games will be forever remembered for the horror of the attack by Palestinian terrorists who broke into the Olympic Village before killing two Israelis and taking another nine hostage, demanding the release of 200 prisoners from Israel. In a bungled police operation, all nine hostages were killed, along with the five hostage takers, and a policeman. IOC President Avery Brundage took the decision to continue the Games after a 34-hour suspension.
Around 30 African nations staged a last-minute boycott of the 1976 Montreal Olympics after the IOC allowed New Zealand to compete. New Zealand's rugby team had recently played in a still racially-segregated South Africa, which had been banned from the Olympics since 1964.
More than 60 nations including West Germany and Japan boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The USSR subsequently led 14 socialist nations in a boycott of the next Games, in Los Angeles. The absentees claimed the Los Angeles Olympic Committee was violating the spirit of the Olympics by using the Games to generate commercial profits.
The 2008 Beijing Games provoked outrage from human rights groups who claimed that allowing China to host the Games legitimised its "repressive regime".
But set against these Olympic lows, sometimes catastrophic lows, there has been a constant narrative of which De Coubertin would be proud.
Following the individual nobility displayed in the face of the prevailing political climate at the 1936 Berlin Games, the London Games - for all the stuffy suppression of nations deemed unsuitable to take part - redeemed the modern Olympic Movement and set it back on its way with fresh and vigorous impetus.
The 1964 Tokyo Games offered Japan a way back into the international community following the Second World War and its painful aftermath. It also marked the institution of an Olympic ban for South Africa which persisted until the apartheid system within it had been dismantled - opening the way for a return to the Olympic Movement at the 1992 Barcelona Games. For sure, the Olympics had not effected that huge change on its own - but it had played a part.
Those 1992 Games also saw the first appearance of Germany as a unified nation since 1964.
US sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who finished first and third in the 200 metres at the 1968 Mexico Games, raised gloved fists in a Black Power salute during the national anthem as a protest against racism in their home country. For this they earned expulsion from the Games - and a timeless and honourable place in Olympic and US social history.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 400m victory for home runner Cathy Freeman, an Australian Aborigine who had been chosen to light the Olympic flame, was seen by many as a symbol of reconciliation for Australia's native peoples.
And so the Olympic tapestry, often light, sometimes dark, continues to be created.
Now seems a particularly important time for a light section, however. Many hopes will rest on Tuesday's tete-a-tete in the Peace House at Panmunjeom…