Both North and South Korean athletes are on a roll at the London Summer Olympics, snapping up medals and currently rank high in the international medal count.
As of Friday, South Korea stood in third place after winning seven gold, two silver and five bronze, while North Korea was in eighth place behind France, the U.K., Germany and Italy with four gold and one bronze.
Panic spread throughout the South Korean team in the early phase of the Olympics after swimmer Park Tae-hwan, judoka Cho Jun-ho and fencer Shin A-lam were either disqualified or pushed out of the medal range following controversial calls by referees. Korea had been aiming to win 10 gold medals and to rank within the top 10 in the medal count.
But after the third day of the Olympics, the concerns abated. On Wednesday alone, South Korean athletes racked up one gold in shooting and judo each, and one gold and one bronze in fencing.
Now the traditional South Korean strongholds of taekwondo, as well as archery, shooting, gymnastics, boxing and weightlifting also offer chances of more medals. The South Korean team is aiming for at least two gold in taekwondo, one gold in gymnastics, and one gold in badminton.
Shooter Jin Jong-oh will compete for another gold in the men's 50-m air pistol match after winning a gold medal in the men's 10-m air pistol on the first day of the games, while weightlifter and Beijing Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi-ran aims to defend her title.
North Korea's performance is also impressive. Overturning initial forecast that it would have a hard time winning even one gold medal, the North Korean team has won four already, in judo and weightlifting. The North plans to win another gold in wrestling, aiming to surpass its previous record of four gold and one bronze it set in Barcelona in 1992.
At this pace, South Korea may even win 13 gold medals. In the Beijing games in 2008, South Korea won 13 to rank seventh, while the North won two to stand in 33rd place.