1948 was South Korea's first ever appearance in the Olympics-a poor country, forced to adjust to division on the peninsula, with a limited athletic presence. But South Korea won its first medals and contributed to the tortuous process of securing its international standing. Sixty-four years later, by the time of its second appearance in a London Olympics South Korea had become a powerful economy with a high international profile and a strong athletic representation-coming 5th in the final medal table. This study compares and contrasts not just the two London Olympics in terms of athletic performances but also the changed roles for South Korea within both the global sporting community and broader international society. Despite the continuing division on the peninsula, the two London Olympics provide symbols and markers of the aspirations, achievements and failures of South Korean policy-makers and their people.
- South Korea