Highlights from South Korea’s Very Bizarre Olympics


When it comes to the Olympics, I’m only mildly interested in things like winning and gold medals. Oh no, I’m far more interested in things that go woefully wrong – I’m the guy who watches figure skating during the Winter Olympics and prays that somebody falls down. So, that said, these Summer Olympics have been brilliant for me, as I live in South Korea and that country has had one whacky thing after another happen to them. Here, if you haven’t been paying attention to South Korea’s zany Olympics, have been some of the highlights:

Wrong Flag Causes Protest by North Korean Soccer Team: In a slight guffaw, organizers for the Olympics accidentally showed the North Korean women’s soccer team players juxtaposed with, um, the South Korean flag. Whoops! I mean, it’s not like these two countries are technically still at war or anything. Oh, wait, they are! North Korea was understandably upset and refused to take the soccer field until the slip-up was fixed, which took over an hour. During this time, the Olympics Committee surely got a quick briefing on North Korea and was likely shocked to learn that Kim Jong Ill died last year, Samsung is in the South, and now North Korea will be blowing them up for the flag faux pas.

Blind Dude Sets Record in Archery: No, that’s not a joke. South Korean archer Im Dong Hyun, who is technically blind, broke an Olympic record for achieving the highest score ever in the first round of the archery tournament. Im followed his incredible performance by shocking audiences again when, in a terrible case of cultural differences, he cooked and ate his own Seeing Eye dog.

Fencer Breaks Down in Tears: There was only a second left in fencer Shin A-Lam’s match with the winner of the previous Olympics, Germany’s Britta Heidemann. Shin thought the clock had run out; apparently it should have, but due to a malfunction, it didn’t. Heidemann was able to score the winning strike and won the match. Shin, in response, had a total meltdown. While her coach filed a formal protest, Shin cried and cried, still standing on her spot of defeat, as rules dictate one cannot leave the piste during a protest. Eventually Shin’s protest was denied, she cried more, was taken off the piste, and came back a few minutes later only to lose the bronze medal match. Later, Shin was offered a special consolidation medal, I guess because she was so cute with all the tears and drama and stuff (or because the clock broke, who am I to say?). Shin refused to accept the special medal, as she had already been changed into a bitter and angry person by that point, destined to spend the rest of her life easing her frustrations by pushing people in the Seoul subway.

Korean Men’s Soccer Player Barred from Medal Ceremony: Say, you just beat the Japanese soccer team in the bronze medal match. What better time could there be for making an obnoxious, not-so-subtle anti-Japan political statement? That’s exactly what Korean soccer player Park Jong Woo did, holding up a sign saying that the jointly claimed island called Dok-do is in fact Korea’s. Park’s statement eventually stopped him from being able to receive his bronze medal. To no one’s surprise, Park’s sign did not convince Japan to give up the island and nothing has changed.

Swiss Soccer Player Sent Home for Racist Tweet: Before any of this political stuff happened, a Swiss soccer player got kicked off the team for tweeting that Koreans are “mongoloids.” While the Swiss player’s tweet infuriated Koreans, his dismissal confused mongoloids around the world, who saw nothing offensive at all about the comparison.

Korean Weight Lifter Snaps Arm: Here’s a nice montage of pain.

So there you have it, my favorite South Korean Olympic moments. Who knew the South Koreans could add so much entertainment value to the games? So, in conclusion, the general public learned a lot this Olympics. They learned that North Korea has its own flag, blind guys can shoot arrows, weights are heavy and, on a broader note, that The Spice Girls are still pretty darn hot.