|NOC||Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea|
|Youth Olympic Games||22|
|Other competitors with PRK nationality||12|
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 South Korea said it was impossible. DPR Korea received full IOC recognition for its Olympic Committee in March 1962, and then competed at the Innsbruck Olympic Winter Games in 1964, but with a flag that did not conform with the IOC decision made in 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 has competed at the Olympic Games of 1972, 1976, 1980, and from 1992 to 2016, also skipping the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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.
DPR Korea did not compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, stating the reason was because of fear of COVID-19 and the safety of their contingent. Because of that withdrawal, the NOC of DPR Korea was suspended by the IOC at their Executive Board meeting on 8 September 2021. Due to this suspension, the status of DPR Korea competing at Beijing 2022 was in question. Eventually, they would not be present at the Beijing Winter Games.
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 Jung-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. Judoka Kye Sun-Hui is the only athlete from this nation with three medals, one of each color.
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, 2010, 2014, and 2018. At the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, DPR Korea and the Republic of Korea had a joint ice hockey team, which had been arranged by the IOC.
DPR Korea has had 72 Winter Olympians, 32 men and 40 women. Of NOCs that have had both men and women compete at the Winter Olympic Games, this makes DPR Korea one of only three countries to do so with more women than men, along with China and Hong Kong, China. The nation’s Winter Olympians have competed in Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, short-track speed skating, and speed skating. DPR Korea has won two Olympic medals at the Olympic Winter Games: a silver by Han Pil-Hwa in 1964 women’s 3,000 metres speed skating, and a bronze by Hwang Ok-Sil in 1992 women’s 500 metres short track speed skating.
|1964 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||6||7||13||Results|
|1972 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||23||14||37||Results|
|1972 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||0||6||6||Results|
|1976 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||36||2||38||Results|
|1980 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||39||8||47||Results|
|1984 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||3||3||6||Results|
|1988 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||3||3||6||Results|
|1992 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||36||28||64||Results|
|1992 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||9||11||20||Results|
|1996 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||15||9||24||Results|
|1998 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||2||6||8||Results|
|2000 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||14||17||31||Results|
|2004 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||13||23||36||Results|
|2006 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||2||4||6||Results|
|2008 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||21||37||58||Results|
|2010 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||1||1||2||Results|
|2012 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||15||37||52||Results|
|2016 Summer Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||11||20||31||Results|
|2018 Winter Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||7||3||10||Results|
|2010 Summer Youth Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||5||6||11||Results|
|2014 Summer Youth Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||3||3||6||Results|
|2018 Summer Youth Olympics||Democratic People's Republic of Korea||1||4||5||Results|
|Alpine Skiing (Skiing)||3||2||5||Results|
|Artistic Gymnastics (Gymnastics)||18||22||40||Results|
|Artistic Swimming (Aquatics)||0||6||6||Results|
|Cross Country Skiing (Skiing)||6||5||11||Results|
|Cycling Road (Cycling)||0||3||3||Results|
|Figure Skating (Skating)||8||7||15||Results|
|Rhythmic Gymnastics (Gymnastics)||0||2||2||Results|
|Short Track Speed Skating (Skating)||5||7||12||Results|
|Speed Skating (Skating)||10||19||29||Results|
|Rhythmic Gymnastics (Gymnastics)||0||1||1||Results|
|1992 Summer Olympics||Olympic Games||4||0||5||9|
|2012 Summer Olympics||Olympic Games||4||0||3||7|
|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|
|Short Track Speed Skating||0||0||1||1|
Includes medals won as part of mixed teams.