London 2012: North Korea provide early shock of the Olympic Games with growing medal haul
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Tuesday 31 July 2012
Even the Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un doesn’t need to propagandise this one.
North Korea sits fifth in the Olympics medal table with three golds and a bronze. Ahead of them sit only China, the USA, France and (perhaps the censors should cut this one out) South Korea.
The performance of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been the early surprise of the Games - and very much in line with the wisdom of their former supreme leader, Kim Jong-Il, who urged his populace to “expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now”.
The unexpected golds in men’s weightlifting (two) and women’s judo have produced a glut of extra work for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in Pyongyang.
Kim Chon Sok, Kim Jong-un’s Alastair Campbell, was quoted by the North Korean state news agency yesterday as saying: “All my family burst out into cheers when hearing the news about Olympiad. Some evil-minded foreign media asserted that the DPRK would take only one silver medal, but our sportspersons refuted such assertions with good results.
“The hostile forces had better try hard to get a correct understanding of the DPRK.”
North Korean Olympians appear to know the secret of their success. After he produced an Olympic record to take gold in the 62kg weightlifting, Kim Un Guk credited the influence of the nation’s relatively new leader, Kim Jong-un, who is either 28 or 29, as the deciding factor: “I won first place because the shining supreme commander Kim Jong-un gave me power and courage.”
Similarly, Mr Om, who was triumphant in the 56kg weightlifting category, said: “My medal is due to the warm love and consideration of General Kim Jong-il and comrade Kim Jong-un.”
The list of North Korean sporting prowess had previously been topped by the much-reported occasion in 1994 on which the “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il “officially” shot a 38-under par round of golf that included 11 hole-in-one.
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