South Korea at the Olympics facts for kids

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South Korea at the
Flag of South Korea.svg
IOC code KOR
NOC Korean Olympic Committee
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Gold Silver Bronze Total
121 112 104 337
Summer appearances
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Winter appearances
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Other related appearances
Unification flag of Korea.svg Korea (2018)

The Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea) first participated at the Olympic Games in 1948, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except for 1980 which they boycotted. South Korea has also participated in every Winter Olympic Games since 1948, except for the 1952 games.


The first Korean athletes to win medals did so at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, when Sohn Kee-chung and Nam Sung-yong won gold and bronze respectively in the men's marathon. However, as Korea was under Japanese rule at that time, and, since both athletes were members of the Japanese team, the IOC credits both medals to Japan.

South Korea won its first medals as an independent nation at its first appearance in 1948, and won its first gold medal in 1976. South Korean athletes have won a total of 267 medals at the Summer Games, with the most gold medals won in archery, and 70 medals at the Winter Games, a majority in short track speed skating. The nation has won more medals in this winter sport than any other nation since it was introduced to the Olympic program in 1992.

The National Olympic Committee for Korea is the Korean Olympic Committee, and was founded in 1946 and recognized in 1947.

During the 1998-2007 Sunshine Policy era, South Korea and North Korea symbolically marched as one team at the opening ceremonies of the 2000 and 2004 Olympics; but competed separately.

Hosted Games

The Republic of Korea has hosted the Games on two occasions:

Games Host city Dates Nations Participants Events
1988 Summer Olympics Seoul 17 September – 2 October 160 8,391 263
2018 Winter Olympics Pyeongchang 9 – 25 February 92 2,952 102

Unsuccessful bids

Games City Winner of bid
2010 Winter Olympics PyeongChang Vancouver, Canada
2014 Winter Olympics PyeongChang Sochi, Russia

Medal tables

*Red border colour indicates tournament was held on home soil.

Most successful Olympians

South Korean volunteer at the Seoul Olympic games
A South Korean volunteer at the Games of the XXIV Olympiad.
Athlete Sport Type Olympics Gold Silver Bronze Total
Jin Jong-oh Shooting Summer 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 4 2 0 6
Kim Soo-Nyung Archery Summer 1988, 1992, 2000 4 1 1 6
Chun Lee-Kyung Short track speed skating Winter 1992, 1994, 1998 4 0 1 5
Park Sung-hyun Archery Summer 2004, 2008 3 1 0 4
Ahn Hyun-Soo Short track speed skating Winter 2002, 2006 3 0 1 4
Jin Sun-Yu Short track speed skating Winter 2006 3 0 0 3
Yun Mi-Jin Archery Summer 2000, 2004 3 0 0 3
Kim Ki-Hoon Short track speed skating Winter 1992, 1994 3 0 0 3

On 11 February 2014, Lee Sang-hwa won the gold medal for the women's 500m longtrack speedskating race at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, having previously won the one at the 2010 Games. She became the third woman and first Korean woman to win back-to-back golds at the 500m.

Yuna Kim is the champion of figure skating, she won all the gold medals till 2010. Yoon Seongbin won a gold medal at Pyeongchang 2018, a skeleton for the first time and also became a skeleton king.

Participated event by competition

Summer Olympics

Nation 48 52 56 60 64 68 72 76 84 88 92 96 00 04 08 12 16 20
Badminton d e
Baseball d d d d d
Bowling d
Canoeing and kayaking
Field hockey
Modern pentathlon
Synchronized swimming
Table tennis
Taekwondo d d
Tennis d d
Water polo
  • d : demonstration sports
  • e : exhibition sports

Winter Olympics

Event 48 56 60 64 68 72 76 80 84 88 92 94 98 02 06 10 14 18 22
Alpine skiing
Cross country skiing
Figure skating
Freestyle skiing
Ice hockey
Nordic combined
Short track speed skating d
Ski jumping
Speed skating
  • d : Demonstration sports

2020 unified Korea team

On November 2, 2018, officials from both North and South Korea announced that their countries would participate at the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Tokyo, Japan, as a unified Korean team.

South Korea at the Olympics Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.