North Korea leader, Kim Jong-un
Isolated, impoverished and home to 200,000 political prisoners, North Korea will look to flex its muscles at the London Olympics in weightlifting and wrestling.
Under new leader Kim Jong-un, third of his line to rule the state, North Korea has projected a more open image than that of his austere father, who rarely spoke in public, with rock concerts, Disney characters and footage of a laughing and smiling young Kim, reports Reuters.
"The DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea) pins its hopes on weightlifting and wrestling, in particular. Women's football is also hopeful," state news agency KCNA said this week as the country's 51 athletes arrived in London.
North Korea has won 41 medals since 1964 when it first joined the Games, 10 of which were gold. It scooped two gold, one silver and three bronze medals in Beijing.
There would have been more North Korean athletes in London but for a two-year ban imposed on their gymnastics team for falsifying their ages.
Gymnast Hong Su Jong listed three different birth dates in registering for international competitions from 2003 to 2010. The minimum age for Olympic gymnasts is 16, but Hong was under-age.
This was the second time that North Korea has been punished for age falsification, after the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) discovered that Kim Gwang Suk, the 1991 world gold medalist, was listed as 15 for three years in a row.