48 years ago, an athlete of the DPRK shed tears on the winners’ podium amid the playing of the national anthem of his country Patriotic Song.
He was Ri Ho Jun who took part in a small-bore rifle shooting event of the 20th Olympic Games held in Munich, Germany, in August Juche 61 (1972).
He scored 599 points out of 600 to renew the world and Olympic records.
Media of various countries featured his successful result as “Beyond imagination”, “Unprecedented sensation”, “Victory beyond expectation”, “Mysterious marksmanship” and “Almost perfect points”, and commented that many people must have been shocked by his successful performance.
He was born in a worker’s family in Pukchong County, South Hamgyong Province in December 1946. Since his childhood he was very mischievous. When he became a shooter requiring perfect composure and ability to control one’s own mentality, many people expressed their amazement.
At first, Ri had troubles as he was not accustomed to the shooting training. Sometimes, he could not make up his mind whether to try the other sporting event or not. But he braced up himself with a will to do it at any cost and a determination to beat others. He always set higher goals and left the training ground only after achieving them. It was his daily routine.
Still today, he treasures his training logbook. Written on the first page is the following phrase: The more I sweat, the more I can bag gold medals.
During his career, he bagged 18 medals, including 15 golds, and was awarded the title of People’s Athlete.
He was recorded in the sports history of the DPRK as the first Olympic gold medalist.
He is now living happily with his sons, daughters-in-law, grandsons and granddaughters.