Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Overview

NOCOlympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Flagbearers38

Participants

Olympic Games 415
Youth Olympic Games 17

Description

The Democratic People’s Republic (DPR) of Korea (often termed North Korea) proclaimed its establishment on 9 September 1948. DPR Korea applied to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for recognition in June 1956 and received provisional IOC recognition in 1957, on the understanding that it would only be allowed to compete at Rome in 1960 as a combined team with the Republic of Korea.

Originally, the IOC policy was for both Koreas to form a combined team, similar to Germany in 1956-1964. DPR Korea agreed to this, but Korea (South) said it was impossible. DPR Korea received full IOC recognition for its Olympic Committee in March 1962. DPR Korea then competed at the Innsbruck Olympic Winter Games in 1964, but with a flag that did not conform to the IOC decision made at the 1963 session in Baden-Baden.

DPR Korea was to make its début at the Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo but withdrew. This was because, in November 1963, DPR Korea had competed at the Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO). These were highly controversial games (see The Games of the XVIIIth Olympiad) that were not recognized by the IOC because GANEFO organizers refused admission to Israel and Taiwan. All athletes competing in shooting, swimming, and athletics at GANEFO were banned by their international federations from competing at Tokyo in 1964. This included several athletes from DPR Korea, including its greatest athlete, 800 metre world-record holding runner Dan Sin-Kim. When these athletes were not allowed to compete, DPR Korea withdrew in protest.

GANEFO II was held from 25 November to 6 December 1966 and DPR Korea again competed at these games. Because of this, the track & field athletes from DPR Korea who had competed at GANEFO II were subsequently barred from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and the nation withdrew again, choosing not to send any athletes.

The 1968 withdrawal was also partly motivated by anger over a recent IOC decision. At the 68th Session in Mexico City shortly before the Olympics, the IOC decided that, after 1 November 1968, the nation would be referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but that at Mexico City, the nation would compete under its geographic name of North Korea. Precisely similar decisions were made with respect to East Germany and Taiwan, who were forced by the IOC to compete at Mexico City under names they did not recognize, rather than their proper names of the German Democratic Republic and Republic of China.

DPR Korea made its first Olympic appearance at the Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck in 1964. The nation has also competed at the Winter Games of 1972, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1998, 2006, and 2010. DPR Korea has competed at the Olympic Games of 1972, 1976, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, also skipping the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1988 Seoul Olympics. DPR Korea has won 49 Olympic medals through 2012, including 14 gold medals, which includes one silver and one bronze medal won at the Winter Games.

DPR Korea withdrew from the 1984 Olympics in obvious sympathy with the Soviet Union’s boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics. DPR Korea withdrew from the 1988 Olympics in protest of the hosting of the Games by the rival government of the Republic of (South) Korea. Long political discussions were held from 1985 to 1988 between representatives of the National Olympic Committees of the two countries. These dealt with demands by the North Koreans to co-host the 1988 Olympics or at least host several of the events. The Korean Olympic Organizing Committee and the IOC were never able to satisfy the demands of the North Koreans and talks eventually broke off, resulting in the North Korean boycott.

At the 2000 Opening Ceremony in Sydney, a historic event occurred when the teams from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea marched into the stadium together, led by one flagbearer from each nation at the head of the combined contingent. This “athletic peace” was brokered by the IOC, and occurred at a time when the two Koreas were also beginning to have some political exchanges for the first time in decades. The flagbearer for DPR Korea at Sydney was the official, Pak Jang-Chul, while the Republic of Korea was led by basketball player Jeong Eun-Sun. This occurred again at the 2004 Athens Opening Ceremony, the 2006 Torino Opening Ceremony, and the 2018 PyeongChang Opening Ceremony.

The most successful North Korean athletes have been Kim Il-Ong who won gold in the 1992 and 1996 light-flyweight freestyle wrestling, and Rim Jong-Sim who won golds in women’s weightlifting in both 2012 and 2016.

Participations by edition

Edition Competition Type Men Women Total
1964 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 6 7 13 Results
1972 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 23 14 37 Results
1972 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 0 6 6 Results
1976 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 36 2 38 Results
1980 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 39 8 47 Results
1984 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 3 3 6 Results
1988 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 3 3 6 Results
1992 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 36 28 64 Results
1992 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 9 11 20 Results
1996 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 15 9 24 Results
1998 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 2 6 8 Results
2000 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 14 17 31 Results
2004 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 13 23 36 Results
2006 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 2 4 6 Results
2008 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 21 37 58 Results
2010 Summer Youth Olympics Youth Olympic Games 5 6 11 Results
2010 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 1 1 2 Results
2012 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 15 37 52 Results
2014 Summer Youth Olympics Youth Olympic Games 3 3 6 Results
2016 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 11 20 31 Results
2018 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 7 3 10 Results

Participations by discipline

Olympic Games

Discipline (Sport) Men Women Total
Alpine Skiing (Skiing) 3 2 5 Results
Archery 1 14 15 Results
Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) 18 22 40 Results
Artistic Swimming (Aquatics) 0 6 6 Results
Athletics 16 12 28 Results
Boxing 20 1 21 Results
Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 6 5 11 Results
Cycling Road (Cycling) 0 3 3 Results
Diving (Aquatics) 4 14 18 Results
Figure Skating (Skating) 8 7 15 Results
Football (Football) 15 31 46 Results
Judo 16 13 29 Results
Rhythmic Gymnastics (Gymnastics) 0 2 2 Results
Rowing 6 0 6 Results
Shooting 24 7 31 Results
Short Track Speed Skating (Skating) 5 7 12 Results
Speed Skating (Skating) 10 19 29 Results
Table Tennis 9 14 23 Results
Volleyball (Volleyball) 0 11 11 Results
Weightlifting 29 11 40 Results
Wrestling 20 4 24 Results

Youth Olympic Games

Discipline (Sport) Men Women Total
Athletics 0 1 1 Results
Diving (Aquatics) 1 1 2 Results
Judo 1 1 2 Results
Rowing 1 0 1 Results
Swimming (Aquatics) 1 1 2 Results
Table Tennis 1 1 2 Results
Weightlifting 2 3 5 Results
Wrestling 1 1 2 Results

Medals by Games

Edition Competition Type Gold Silver Bronze Total
1992 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 4 0 5 9
2012 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 4 0 2 6
2014 Summer Youth Olympics Youth Olympic Games 3 2 0 5
2016 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 2 3 2 7
2008 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 2 2 2 6
1996 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 2 1 2 5
1972 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 1 1 3 5
2010 Summer Youth Olympics Youth Olympic Games 1 1 3 5
1976 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 1 1 0 2
2004 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 0 4 1 5
1980 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 0 3 2 5
2000 Summer Olympics Olympic Games 0 1 3 4
1964 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 0 1 0 1
1992 Winter Olympics Olympic Games 0 0 1 1

Medals by sport

Olympic Games

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Weightlifting 5 8 4 17
Wrestling 3 2 5 10
Artistic Gymnastics 3 0 0 3
Boxing 2 3 3 8
Judo 2 2 4 8
Shooting 1 0 2 3
Table Tennis 0 1 3 4
Speed Skating 0 1 0 1
Short Track Speed Skating 0 0 1 1
Volleyball 0 0 1 1

Youth Olympic Games

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Weightlifting 2 2 1 5
Wrestling 2 0 0 2
Judo 0 1 1 2
Diving 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Kim Il-Ong PRK 2 0 0 2
Rim Jong-Sim PRK 2 0 0 2
Kye Sun-Hui PRK 1 1 1 3
An Kum-Ae PRK 1 1 0 2
Om Yun-Chol PRK 1 1 0 2
Choi Chol-Su PRK 1 0 0 1
Gu Yong-Jo PRK 1 0 0 1
Pae Gil-Su PRK 1 0 0 1
Li Ho-Jun PRK 1 0 0 1
Li Hak-Son PRK 1 0 0 1
Pak Hyon-Suk PRK 1 0 0 1
Hong Un-Jong PRK 1 0 0 1
Kim Un-Guk PRK 1 0 0 1
Ri Se-Gwang PRK 1 0 0 1

Youth Olympic Games

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Kim Song-Chol PRK 1 0 0 1
Kim Son-Hyang PRK 1 0 0 1
Pak Jong-Ju PRK 1 0 0 1
Ri Se-Ung PRK 1 0 0 1
Hyon Song-Chol PRK 0 1 0 1
Jong Chun-Hui PRK 0 1 0 1
Ri Song-Gum PRK 0 1 0 1
Kim Kuk-Hyang PRK 0 0 1 1
Sin Ji-Hyang PRK 0 0 1 1
Ri Un-Ju PRK 0 0 1 1

IOC Members

Kim Yu-Sun 1978—1994
Kim Yu-Sun 1994—1996
Chang Ung 1996—2018
Chang Ung 2019—