The coach of the North Korean women’s soccer team sat in hischair and placed on the table a black half-inch thick notebook withthe word ”COACH” – in English in huge, gray letters – printed onthe front. Beside him sat a man who identified himself as a teammanager and also serves as translator, his small tan notebook andpen at the ready.Time for questions.”Do your players have any special motivation when playingagainst the United States, whether because they’re ranked as thebest team in the world, or because of the adversarial relationshipbetween the two countries?”The team manager leaned toward the coach. Mumbles wereexchanged. Back came the answer.”We believe in our players’ mental power,” said the teammanager, Choe Nam Hyok.”That’s all?””That’s all,” Choe said.”That doesn’t answer my question,” said the reporter.Choe stared sternly at the reporter and didn’t respond.In an ever-connected sports world in which players, coaches andreporters from all nations mix freely, North Korea remains amystery, erecting a proverbial wall that leaves others curious,fascinated and sometimes frustrated. Nowhere is it more obviousthan at the Olympics.”From, like, a humane level, I want to know what their livesare like,” U.S. soccer forward Abby Wambach said. ”And what theydo for fun.”The U.S. and North Korean women’s… Read full this story
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