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S. Korea's first Olympic medalist dies

2016/02/20 21:00

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- The first South Korean to win a medal at the Olympics after Korea's independence from Japan died Saturday, sports officials said.

Kim Sung-jip, a former Olympic weightlifting champion, died of an illness about a month after he was admitted to a hospital in Seoul. He was 97.

Kim won a bronze medal at the 1948 London Olympics, becoming the first South Korean to ever win a medal after Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

He also won a bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games when South Korea was fighting against North Korea.

Upon liberation, the Korean Peninsula was divided into the capitalist South and communist North. The peninsula is still at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Kim later served as an advisor to the Korean Olympic Committee.