Support the news

Kim Jong-il: Dictator And Athlete05:21


Kim Jong-il died this week. Much has been written of the North Korean dictator's eccentricities, but his prowess as a sportsman is less well documented.  Kim's purported accomplishments were the subject of sports writer Jere Longman's article in the New York Times on Tuesday.

According to Longman, Kim was reported to have rolled a perfect 300 in his first bowling match and to have shot five holes in one and a 38 under par in his maiden round of golf.

"There seems to be nothing that wasn't part of his myth," Longman told Only A Game's Bill Littlefield.  "My only question about the five holes in one was, 'Was it on a course with a pirate theme?  Was it a put-put course?  Was there a windmill?   A lion's head?  A pop up gopher?  That's one of the things we never understood.'"

No reports have surfaced yet about the sporting accomplishments of North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong-un.  But, Longman says while the younger Kim attended school in Switzerland, there was evidence to suggest he had inherited his father's love of the NBA.

"[He] did not appear to have any sort of political aims," Longman said.  "He spent much of his time doing meticulous pencil drawings of Michael Jordan."

This segment aired on December 24, 2011.

+Join the discussion

Support the news