Jong Song-ok

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Jong Song-ok
Jong Song Ok.jpg
Personal information
Nationality North Korean
Born (1974-08-18) 18 August 1974 (age 44)
Haeju, South Hwanghae
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jeong Seong-ok
McCune–Reischauer Chŏng Sŏng'ok

Jong Song-ok (Chosŏn'gŭl정성옥; born 18 August 1974) is a female long-distance runner and politician from North Korea, who won the world title in the women's marathon at the 1999 World Championships in Athletics in Seville, Spain. To date, it is the only medal ever won by a North Korean athlete at the World Championships.


Jong debuted internationally at the 1995 Military World Games where she finished second. She emerged as a new star in a series of North Korean marathoners after having placed third at the Beijing Marathon.[1]

She competed at 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, finishing 20th in the women's marathon.

In 2000, Jong did not participate in either the Boston Marathon or the Summer Olympics in Sydney; South Korean media claimed this was due to the personal instruction of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.[2][3] Jong became a delegate to the 10th Supreme People's Assembly in March 2000.[1]

Jong is the first North Korean sportsperson to have received the title of Heroine of the Republic [ko].[1] She also holds the title of People's Athlete.[4]

Later life

Jong married fellow marathon runner Kim Jung-won in March 2001.[5] During the 2008 Olympic torch relay in Pyongyang, she was the last person to carry the Olympic torch through the streets.[6]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  North Korea
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 20th Marathon 2:35:31
1999 World Championships Seville, Spain 1st Marathon 2:26:59


  1. ^ a b c North Korea Handbook 2002, p. 493.
  2. ^ "북한 정성옥 보스턴 마라톤 불참" [North Korea's Jong Song-ok will not join Boston Marathon]. JoongAng Ilbo. 2000-03-29. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  3. ^ "북한 정성옥, 김정일 지시로 올림픽 불참" [North Korea's Jong Song-ok did not join Sydney Olympics on instructions of Kim Jong-il]. Domin Ilbo. 2001-04-21. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  4. ^ North Korea Handbook 2002, p. 381.
  5. ^ North Korea Handbook 2002, p. 492.
  6. ^ "Pyongyang Torch Relay Passes Without Hitch". Chosun Ilbo. April 29, 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2012.

Works cited

External links

  • The World Marathon “QUEEN”, Jong Song-Ok
  • Jong Song-ok at IAAF

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