Sohn Kee-Chung’s
1936 Berlin Marathon
Run

A voice recording by Korea's first Olympic gold medal winner, Sohn Kee-Chung, on his 1936 race in Berlin

At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Sohn Kee-Chung, a native of Sinuiju in modern day North Korea, became the first Korean to win a gold medal.

Below is a recording of Son’s account of his 1936 race (in Korean), which is also immortalized in the propaganda film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl.

The recording by Columbia Records is called 'The Deep Emotion of Winning' (우성의 감격 | 優勝의 感激). Although Sohn won the medal for the Japanese Empire, of which Korea was then a colony, his recording is in Korean and his victory was considered a great moment for the Korean people.

The Donga Ilbo article on his race (see 02:37) describes him as a 'Son of Korea' who 'went as far to become a world hero'.

Marathon running is still common in both North Korea and South Korea. You can even run a marathon in North Korea — the Pyongyang Marathon — with Koryo Tours!

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