Under their own flag, North Korea first competed at the summer Olympic Games in 1972 (they sent athletes to the 1964 Winter Olympics), though some athletes from Korea competed as part of the Japanese teams during their occupation between 1910-1945.
They surpassed the feat they achieved in the Winter Games by winning not one, not two but four Olympic medals in their Summer Games debut. Wrestler Kim Gwong-hyong and their women's national volleyball team both won bronze medals, boxer Kim U-gil won the silver in the light flyweight division (48 kg) and shooter Ri Ho-jun took the golf for the 50 m Rifle Prone 60 shots. Not a bad haul for a debut indeed.
Since their debut in 1972, North Korea have attended most of the Summer Games except when they participated in the Soviet-initiated boycott of the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and in 1988 when they boycotted as well the Summer Games that was held in its neighbor South Korea for political reasons. In 2021, North Korea withdrew from Tokyo 2020 citing COVID-19 fears.
- Sohn Kee-Chung became the first Korean to win an Olympic medal, when he won the gold in the marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was born in Sinŭiju, North P'yŏngan Province, which is now part of North Korea. He was competing as a member of the Japanese team, as Korea was part of the Japanese Empire. He competed under the Japanese name Son Kitei.
- In 1998, after failing to be recognized as co-host of the Games, North Korea (which was still technically at war with the South) boycotted the Games.
- In 2000 in Sydney, the North and South Korean teams entered the stadium under one flag.
- North Korea at the Winter Olympics
- See also South Korea at the Olympics
- More trivia from each Country at the Olympic Games
- Seoul Olympics 1998
- About sport in North Korea