INCHEON, South Korea - North Korean weightlifter Kim Un-Guk Tuesday said supreme leader Kim Jong-Un had inspirationally helped cure a troublesome injury before he smashed three world records at the Asian Games.
Kim, who won the men's 62kg class competition, followed the example of every North Korean athlete in attributing any success at the Games in Incheon in the rival South to the reclusive country's young leader.
On collecting a medal, the North Koreans say that they were thinking about Kim Jong-Un at the crucial moment, or that he provided the inspiration.
In weightlifter Kim's case it was medical help.
"I've had some trouble in the waist. But thanks to the warm care of the respected Marshall Kim Jong-Un, I didn't feel any trouble," Kim told a press conference.
"So the great, warm care and great love and respect of Marshall Kim Jong-Un gave me the opportunity to be the champion." Om Yun-Chol, who broke his own world record to win the 56kg class, added: "Armed with strong spirit and ideology as our comrade Kim Jong-Un taught us, you can break a rock with an egg and set a world record. That's my secret." The totalitarian state's leader is a sports fanatic who is married to a former member of its "Army of Beauties" cheer squad.
Although the "Beauties" remained in Pyongyang following a political wrangle with Seoul, Kim and Om have been cheered on by a vocal group of pro-unification activists in Incheon.
The lifters, whose remarks were translated by a team official rather than a live interpreter, would not comment on how it felt to win gold medals in South Korea.
And after receiving luxury watches from a Games sponsor, Om and Kim said they didn't expect any rewards from Pyongyang, which is known to lavish cars and apartments on its star athletes.
The communist country's propaganda machine has lauded Kim, with the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper describing him as the "People's Sportsman of the DPRK (North Korea)".
"We don't want anything from anybody. All we want is to give pleasure and happiness to our people and especially to the respectable Marshall Kim Jong-Un," said Kim.
Then as a journalist rose, microphone in hand, to ask a question, the media conference was abruptly cut short and the North Koreans got up to leave.
The two Koreas remain technically at war and the 273-strong North Korean delegation has been kept under tight guard throughout the Games.