Sun Hui Kye
Atlanta, Georgia World Congress Center, 26 July 1996, Games of the XXVI Olympiad: Sun-Hui KYE of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (left) in action against Ryoko TAMURA of Japan during the -48kg judo final. Sun-Hui KYE went on to win the gold medal. Credit: Getty Images/Doug Pensinger
Other names: KYE, Sun-Hi
Born: 2 August 1979
Birthplace: Pyongyang (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)
Nationality: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
ATTENDANCE AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Gold: 2 (01, 03)
Silver: 1 (97)
Bronze: 1 (99)
The extra-lightweight division of women's judo saw one of the biggest upsets of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The overwhelming favorite was Japan's Ryoko Tamura, who entered the final with an 84-match winning streak. Her opponent was 16-year-old Sun-Hi Kye, who had never competed outside her native country, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and who had been given a wildcard entry to the Olympics by the International Judo Federation.
Kye had never heard of Ryoko Tamura and had never seen her fight until she watched videos of her before the final. Kye startled Tamura by attacking from the start and the double world champion was unable to establish her rhythm. With 22 seconds left, Kye scored with a leg hook and then added an insurance point when Tamura, on her knees, was penalized for "false attack."
At the 2000 Sydney Games, Kye moved up to the half-lightweight division and earned a bronze medal, while being cheered on by hundreds of Korean fans who, in the spirit of solidarity, sang songs from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in her honor. Kye won the world championship in 2001 and successfully defended her world title in 2003. At the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, Sun-Hui Kye won the silver medal in the -57kg, the gold medal going to Germany's Yvonne Boenisch.