International

North Korea: Soccer Players Hit By Lightning Before Loss To U.S.

Abby Wambach of the United States battles against North Korea's Ri Un Hyang during the group C match between the United States and North Korea at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Dresden, Germany, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. i i

hide captionAbby Wambach of the United States battles against North Korea's Ri Un Hyang during the group C match between the United States and North Korea at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Dresden, Germany, Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Abby Wambach of the United States battles against North Korea's Ri Un Hyang during the group C match between the United States and North Korea at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Dresden, Germany, Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

Abby Wambach of the United States battles against North Korea's Ri Un Hyang during the group C match between the United States and North Korea at the Women’s Soccer World Cup in Dresden, Germany, Tuesday, June 28, 2011.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

After the U.S. women's soccer team beat North Korea 2-0 on Tuesday in the first round of the 2011 Women's World Cup, North Korea manager Kwang Min Kim said his team's loss may have been because some of its players were recently struck by lightning.

"During training [in North Korea] our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalized," Kim said, according to the BBC. "The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well."

As Brooks Peck of Yahoo Sports' Dirty Tackle sports blog says, "given the secretive nature of the North Koreans, we may never know if this is true or not. ... [And] it is curious that Kim only mentioned this freak occurrence after his team lost."

Also, as we've said, North Korea is known to say some things that don't quite add up — such as the claim that it's the second happiest nation on Earth.

Update at 4:25 p.m. ET: A lightning strike can injure several, or many, people at once, as this story from Michigan shows.

Update at 3:45 p.m. ET. Thunderstorms On That Day? It Appears So:

According to the coach, the players were struck by lightning on June 8 in Pyongyang. It took us a while to find an online reference to what the weather was like that day in the North Korean capital. Now we have.

According to Weather Underground, there were thunderstorms in Pyongyang on June 8, in the evening.

The sun set that day at 8 p.m. local time, the website says. The storms started sometime after 3 p.m. and were observed at both 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

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