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Joseon Achieved Olympic Victory, China Did Not

Posted August. 22, 2004 22:25,   


It was confirmed on August 22 that Berlin Olympics marathon gold-medalist Sohn Gi-jung encouraged the hard work of Joseon (Korean) athletes and emphasized the development of Joseon athletics in the popular magazine Samcheonri during Japanese colonial rule.

In an article in the January 1941 issue of Samcheonri called, “Witnessing a Great Athletic Event, and the Future of the Development of Joseon Athletics,” Sohn said, “As seen in the Berlin Olympics, even China, with four billion population, could not win, but with a population of only 23 million, Joseon has put forth a flagship through sports. With coach-athlete unity and gentlemanly behavior, Joseon athletes are achieving merit.”

Sohn also discussed the Hamheung soccer team’s repeated wins and the breaking of the Japanese weightlifting record by a Joseon athlete. He politely boasted of our nation’s great support by saying, “The cheers of our brethren in Tokyo became our strength.”

Samcheonri was a popular magazine founded in June of 1929, and was degraded to a Japanese-friendly publication towards the end of Japanese colonial rule. However, through his articles on advancement of athletics, Sohn surreptitiously inspired and advocated our national spirit.

Yang-Hwan Jung ray@donga.com