North Korea at the Olympics

Some athletes from Korea competed as part of the Japanese teams during their occupation between 1910-1945. Under their own flag, North Korea first competed at the summer Olympic Games in 1972 (they sent athletes to the 1964 Winter Olympics).

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.

North Korea first participation in any Olympic Games was at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria. This debut earned them their first ever Olympic medal when speed skater Han Pil-Hwa won the silver in the women's 300 meters event. North Korea's attendance in the Winter Games though is varied. They missed the 1968, 1976, 1980, 1994, 2002 and 2014 Winter Olympics and other than Han Pil-Hwa's silver, the only medal they got in the Winter Olympics was in the 1992 Winter Games held in Albertville, France when Hwang Ok-Sil won the bronze for the women's 500 meters short track speed skating event.


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