Kim Gwang Suk

Kim Gwang-Suk is primarily known for her original uneven bar release move, named after her and for a North Korean age falsification scandal. Her highest gymnastics achievement was at the 1991 World Championships, where she won the gold medal on uneven bars with a perfect 10.0 score. That led to expectations for her to win the gold medal on bars at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, but one step on her dismount left her tied in fourth place, out of medal contention.

Kim Gwang Suk Tribute Video

Born: February 15, 1976, 1977 or 1978
The North Korean Gymnastics Federation listed Kim Gwang-Suk’s age as 15 for three consecutive years and the Federation submitted inconsistent birth year information, at least three times for separate major international competitions. Her real age was never determined. Kim Gwang Suk was at the center of one of the earliest age falsification scandals. She was tiny (4’4″) even for a gymnast and at the 1992 Olympics was missing front teeth, but was supposedly 17 years old. Her coaches and the North Korean Federation claimed she lost her teeth in a training accident several years before the Olympics. The North Korean women’s gymnastics team was banned from the 1993 World Championships, because of her age-falsification scandal.

1992 Kim Gwang Suk Japanese Interview

Kim Gwang Suk competed in major international meets between 1989 and 1993, including the 1989 and 1991 World Championships, the 1990 Asian Games and the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Kim Gwang Suk was the 1991 World Champion on the uneven bars, winning the event with a perfect 10.0 score and a routine that included an original release move, the Counter-Kim. That 10.0 score on bars was the last perfect score ever awarded in a Gymnastics World Championships.

Original Skill:
Kim Gwang Suk – aTkatchev-front flip toward the high bar, known in the FIG Code of Points as the Counter-Kim and classified as a ‘F’ difficulty element (as of the 2008 Code of Points).

Coach: Kim Chun-Phi

Competition Results

Final major competition – 1993 East Asian Games – Tied for 1st – uneven bars (after successful protest of her score)
1992 Olympics: 4th UB; 11th team; 28th AA
1991 World Championships: 1st UB; 9th team; 18th AA
1990 Asian Games: 2nd UB; 4th beam; 6th AA
1990 Moscow World Stars: 1st UB; 8th AA
1989 World Championships: 7th team; 14th AA
1988 Cottbus Cup – 17th All-Around
1988 Junior Friendship Tournament (Druzhba) – Bronze Medal Uneven Bars and Bronze Medal Uneven Bars – North Korean team.
1st International Competition: 1987 – Junior Friendship Tournament (Druzhba) – Bronze Medal Uneven Bars


We currently know nothing about Kim Gwang Suk and her current location and occupation are unknown. She did serve as as a torchbearer during the North Korean portion of the 2008 Olympic torch relay in Pyongyang.

Yurchenko-full twist


Uneven Bar Skills:
Tkatchev-Counter-Kim (original skill)
1.5 pirouette into straddled Jaeger
Double layout dismount

Kim Gwang Suk – 1992 Olympics Event Finals – Uneven Bars

Kim Gwang Suk – 1989 Worlds AA – Uneven Bars

Kim Gwang Suk – 1992 Olympics Team Compulsories – Uneven Bars


Balance beam Skills
Back handspring-layout-layout
Front aerial
Back handspring-Chen
Double tuck dismount

1990 Asian Games Kim Gwang Suk Balance Beam

Kim Gwang Suk – 1989 Worlds AA – Balance Beam

1987 Druzhba – Kim Gwang Suk Balance Beam

Kim Gwang Suk 1992 Olympics Team Compulsory Balance Beam


Floor Exercise Skills:
Full-twisting double back
Double tuck
Double twist

Kim Gwang Suk – 1989 Worlds AA – Floor Exercise

Kim-Gwang-Suk Facebook page

Articles/Links about Kim-Gwang-Suk

North Korea gymnastics team banned from 2012 Olympics for age falsification

Gym officials: China’s 2008 gold medalists of age

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