When it comes to sports and North Korea - are there any?
Due to the lockdown on information leaving or entering Kim Jong Il's territory, we only see glimpses of athleticism in this country. If North Korean sports do appear in the American media, it is often as a result of a military parade. However, it does not take long to realize that this country is riddled in weird sports. The reasons for this penchant toward the strange may never be fully explained and is likely due to Kim Jong Il's strict rejection of the outside world influencing his population.
The propaganda is a sport
The very nature of North Korea's secretiveness has created a sport in and of itself. Pyongyang is the heart of that country's government and is part of the sport of clues-hunting called "Pyongyangology." These professional Pyongyangologists look through any North Korean media propaganda to see if any upcoming changes are going to be made. A similar sport that has now fallen by the wayside is the need for Kremlinology for the USSR.
Kim Jong Il hates losers
The Indianapolis Colts have been having a tough season with the loss of Peyton Manning to injuries. Despite their loses, the only thing they can do is go home and try again next time. Thankfully, the Colts do not live in North Korea.
After a World Cup loss in soccer, Kim Jong Il personally showed the teams' coach that failure is unacceptable in North Korea. To prove he meant business, he had the coach sent to prison. Before he was jailed, the coach pleaded that part of the problem was that the team had been struck by lightening in the not so distant past.
North Korea lacks sportswriters
Are you thinking of looking for the sports page in North Korea? Sadly, it has been reported by major newspapers like the Mirror U.K. that North Korean newspapers do not contain more than a few shreds of sports news. This is all perfectly fine since no one of any importance needs to worry about making a decision about athleticism anyway.
According to one of North Korea's football managers, their leader gives regular sports advice to the team. However, no one knows this because Kim Jong Il is giving this information over an "invisible mobile phone." Obviously, unless Kim Jong Il has superhuman powers, this is a real eyebrow raiser.
Your job as a professional fan
Do you think that you are the best sports fan in the world? Your dream of becoming a professional fan can come true if you simply agree to become a gift from China to Kim Jong Il. According to coverage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, China felt sorry that few North Koreans were able to come support their team. Instead of having empty seats, China offered to hire 1,000 fans to pack the North Korean bleachers.
Women's soccer team doped on deer
Professional athletes worldwide are now familiar with the doping ban. This includes a wide variety of street drugs and performance enhancers like steroids. Nonetheless, natural remedies are usually the only thing that flies under the radar.
For this reason, when the Women's North Korean soccer team tested positive (and created the biggest doping scandal in the entire World Cup history), they blamed it on a traditional musk deer gland remedy. They furthered this claim by stating that this was for therapy after being struck by lightening. Interestingly, the lighting strike was the same excuse that they used for why they lost the game in the first place.
North Korea's sporting future
When it comes to sports, obviously North Korea has a few problems. Conversely, now that Kim Jong Il is dead, could there be some moves toward an athletic future? In the years before his death, two sports were invited to North Korea. The first is golf and the other was the Ultimate Frisbee craze.
Regardless, it may be gymnastics that will put this country on a future track to international stardom. After all, each year thousands of North Korean school children are vying for the chance to become part of the largest color guard performances in the world. If they are willing to go to such lengths to create stunning performances like you see at the 2010 Mass Games, there may be hope for the future of weird sports in North Korea yet.