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North Korean Olympic Medalist Envisions “One Korea”

by YuGee / Aug 12, 2016 06:31 AM EDT

During the 50m pistol event in the ongoing Rio Olympics, North Korean shooter Kim Song Guk took home the bronze medal while South Korea's Jin Jong-Oh won the gold. And Kim thinks the idea of "one Korea" would have brought greater honor for winning the medals.

Yonhap news reported that Kim made this statement at a press conference at the Olympic Shooting Center after he won the bronze and giving North Korea the third medal in the ongoing Olympics. He said, "If the two become one, then we'd have one big medal at hand. And if we have the gold medal and the bronze medal both came from one Korea, then it'd be something bigger."

The statement slightly shocked the audience because it is not usual for a North Korean athlete to voice out his opinion on the divided peninsula at an international sporting event such as the Olympics.

The two countries, North Korea and South Korea, continue to have a hostile diplomatic relationship and stand technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War concluded on a ceasefire instead of a peace treaty.

Kim is the third shooter from North Korea to clinch an Olympic medal. The other two were Kim Jong Su who won bronze in the men's 50m pistol in 2004, and Ri Ho Jun who won the gold medal in the men's rifle prone in 1972.

Kim held the lead at the start of the final and was consistently on top. When he finished the event with the bronze medal, he bowed to the crowd and got loud cheers for his effort and achievement. He said he was "disappointed" that he was not able to maintain his lead.

"It is only gold (that matters). I didn't do as well as expected. It is my first Olympics and I feel I am not up to standard yet. I didn't score as well here as I had in practice," he added.

Kim also expressed his admiration for Jin and congratulated him on his gold medal. He said, "Jin Jong Oh is a world-renowned shooter. I will train with a goal of catching him and try to win the gold later."

This is the second time that people witnessed the two countries in friendly terms in the ongoing Olympics. Previously, gymnasts Hong Un Jong of North Korea and Lee Eun Ju of South Korea snapped a friendly selfie that went viral on social media and other news outlets around the world. 

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