DPRK’s First World Artistic Gymnastics Champion

In November 1971, the 5th World Artistic Gymnastics Championships took place in Havana, Cuba.

Among the artistic gymnasts was Ri Sun Dok (pictured) from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

She started the rope skipping to the tune of gentle and vigorous music, stealing the limelight of the audience.

She exactly performed her movements five times continuously. She took her tossed skipping rope and jumped up with her legs stretched horizontally, turning the rope two times. Thunderous cheers came from the spectators.

Nobody had ever performed her special movements up to ten years after that.

For her thrilling movements with a high degree of difficulty, she became the winner of the event against the expectation of experts and the audience.

The State honoured the first world champion of the country in the artistic gymnastics as a Merited Athlete and conferred on her high official commendation.

She was born into an ordinary worker’s family in a remote mountainous village in Pyoksong County, South Hwanghae Province. She had an unusual aptitude for dancing from her childhood.

At the age of 13, she received dancing education at the then Pyongyang Conservatory. After graduation, she was enrolled at the present Pyongyang Sports Club as an artistic gymnast.

She was assiduous and full of competitive spirit. She made painstaking efforts to prepare herself to be an athlete with marked individuality capable of performing elegant and seasoned technical movements.

After her career as a player she got married. Since then, she devoted herself for the development of artistic gymnastics of the country and the training of reserve gymnasts, working as an artistic gymnastics coach of the then Pyongyang Municipal Sports Club, a senior coach of the then National Sports Club and an international referee.

Her disciples won gold medals, demonstrated the honour of the country in tens of international competitions, including the 7th Artistic Gymnastics Championships of Four Continents, the 22nd Universiad, the 3rd Pyongyang International Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Pak Kwang Bok and Kang Yong Ran, who are distinguishing themselves as coaches at the Pyongyang Sports Club and the Kigwancha Sports Club, are her disciples.

Still today, she is full of vim and vigour in spite of her age of over 70. She would tell the players of new generations her precious experiences and lessons.

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