A gold medal assist from Kim Jong Il

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images While Kim Jong Il tries to throw his weight around on the world stage, one North Korean has actually done it. Today, Pak Hyon Suk won her country’s first Olympic gold medal in Beijing, beating out the favorites in the 63 kg women’s weightlifting category. This is the first time a North ...

593338_080812_pak5.jpg
593338_080812_pak5.jpg

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

While Kim Jong Il tries to throw his weight around on the world stage, one North Korean has actually done it. Today, Pak Hyon Suk won her country's first Olympic gold medal in Beijing, beating out the favorites in the 63 kg women's weightlifting category. This is the first time a North Korean has won a gold in women's weightlifting since the event started in 2000 (China, by contrast, has swept all five of the weightlifting categories it has entered in these games).

Pak was nearly eliminated after failing at her first two attempts. But, with a little help from "Dear Leader" (who declined an invitation to attend the games), she made it through. Says Pak:

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

While Kim Jong Il tries to throw his weight around on the world stage, one North Korean has actually done it. Today, Pak Hyon Suk won her country’s first Olympic gold medal in Beijing, beating out the favorites in the 63 kg women’s weightlifting category. This is the first time a North Korean has won a gold in women’s weightlifting since the event started in 2000 (China, by contrast, has swept all five of the weightlifting categories it has entered in these games).

Pak was nearly eliminated after failing at her first two attempts. But, with a little help from “Dear Leader” (who declined an invitation to attend the games), she made it through. Says Pak:

[W]hen I was about to do my third attempt, I kept in my head the thought that my dear general’s eyes will be upon me …And that thought by itself was great encouragement, and that’s how I managed to lift the last weight.”

Pak may be the first North Korean on the medal stand this year but her country has picked up eight golds over the years, putting it well ahead of the chronic Olympic underperformers on FP‘s recent list. At least India finally broke its gold medal curse with a win in 10-meter air rifle on Monday.

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