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PYONGYANG, North Korea -- Despite claiming only two gold medals in Rio, North Korea is as determined as ever to fulfill one of leader Kim Jong Uns primary goals: to become an international sports superpower.North Koreas small Olympic team won its two golds in weightlifting, where it has a number of world-class and world-record-holding lifters, and gymnastics. Weightlifter Rim Jong Sim won the gold in the womens 75-kilogram division, while gymnast Ri Se Gwang won the mens vault. The North also won three silver and two bronze medals.When our Rim Jong Sim stood on the podium with our national anthem playing, she cried and my mother and I cried, too, as we watched on TV, Ri Yun Gum, an 18-year-old government worker, said Monday in Pyongyang as the Rio games were coming to a close. I think our athletes are able to win not just because they train hard, but because of their mental toughness.The performance was a tad shy of expectations, since North Korea had four golds in London.But transforming North Korea, which has very limited economic resources and a population of only about 25 million, into a player to be reckoned with on the global sports stage is one of Kims pet projects, and he has poured funds into the development and training of promising athletes over the past several years.It has already made a visible mark on Pyongyang.The relatively affluent capital has seen the rise of a number of major new or renovated sports venues, and each year its usually restricted streets are opened for the Pyongyang Marathon, which has become a major tourist attraction. Though pickup volleyball games and football matches in schoolyards have long been a staple in the city, its now a common sight to see young people out jogging or even canoeing on the two main rivers that run through Pyongyang.And while South Korea lets its top athletes get out of military service as a gold medal reward, elite athletes returning home to the North after winning international competitions often get a heros welcome -- and maybe a condo.Of course, Pyongyangs push to garner international prestige and generate national pride by winning medals isnt terribly original. It appears to have been pulled straight out of the playbook of former Soviet bloc countries like East Germany, and is similar to the strong political significance sports are still given in Russia and China, North Koreas two biggest historical backers.But the campaign is also seen as part of Kims effort to make North Korea a more modern nation.There are two reasons why sports are important, Jang Sok Ha, manager of the newly opened Pyongyang Sports Equipment Factory, told The Associated Press on Monday. People in good health can work harder, but they also need cultural rest and recreation.Jangs sparkling new factory, which opened in April, is a big part of the drive and is one of the largest in the country. Its task is to provide regular people affordable sports equipment -- from soccer balls to badminton rackets.Standing in the factory showroom, surrounded by everything from field hockey balls to judo uniforms and bags of talcum powder for weightlifters, Jang proudly produced a basketball signed by former NBA star Dennis Rodman, one of the only foreigners to ever meet with Kim. He then grabbed a ball emblazoned with Naesongsan, his factorys brand.Our balls are good enough to be used by the NBA, too, he said.North Koreans are able to follow the Olympics, or at least some selected events, on TV and radio broadcasts and in newspapers, all of which are run by the state.I watched the games every day, said housewife Hong Un Byol, 34. I was so happy to see our national flag raised after the gold medals. The athletes practiced a lot to give pleasure to the Marshal. Kim is often respectfully referred to by that title, one of the many that he holds.Beyond the playing field, sports have from time to time provided brief respites in the normally tense relations between the two Koreas.During the 2000 Sydney Olympics, North and South Koreans marched together under a flag that symbolized unification. North Koreas womens soccer team won gold at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, with the South winning bronze. Many South Koreans delighted in seeing players from both countries celebrate together after the medal ceremony.While such sentiments were generally absent during the Rio Olympics, one of the most touching moments came when gymnasts Hong Un Jong of North Korea and Lee Eun-ju of South Korea met on the sidelines during their event and posed together smiling for a selfie. Photos of their warm moments delighted many South Koreans and provided a rare note of concord in otherwise abysmal relations between the rivals.Officially, however, both countries frown on such meetings.The Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war because there has been no peace treaty signed to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War. Nearly 30,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea in what Seoul and Washington claim is a necessary deterrent to any threats from North Korea. Turning up the heat, the U.S. and South Korea just kicked off annual war games that Pyongyang says are a prelude to invasion.Games or no games, accusations against the South of trying to create trouble -- not of hugging gymnasts -- are what dominate the headlines here.---Talmadge is the APs Pyongyang bureau chief. Custom Bill Melton Jersey . -- The Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake played to a 0-0 tie Saturday night that left the top of the Western Conference standings unchanged. Custom White Sox Jersey China . Despite dominating possession, Schalke needed an own goal from Nicolas Hoefler for the breakthrough a minute before the interval. The Freiburg midfielder misjudged Jefferson Farfans corner and bundled the ball into his own net. http://www.customwhitesoxjersey.com/ . - The Oakland Raiders re-signed offensive lineman Khalif Barnes on Friday. Custom White Sox Jersey China . Takahashi, who had a 10-point lead after the short program, received 268.31 points after the free skate to finish 15 points ahead of second-place Nobunari Oda. Custom Bo Jackson Jersey . Its an influence in football and a big part of the game. INDIANAPOLIS -- Coming in for the injured Alex Smith, Nick Foles kept the Kansas City Chiefs on a roll on Sunday.Its a job he may have to hold down a while longer.Foles threw for one touchdown pass each time he replaced Smith, leading the Chiefs to their third consecutive victory, 30-14 at Indianapolis on Sunday.Smith left twice after taking hits to the head, once with a cut on his ear that left him disoriented and the second time with a concussion.Somehow, the tag-team quarterbacks kept the Chiefs chugging along against Indys struggling defense.He has a pretty good feel for the offense. Hes been in it before, coach Andy Reid said. Hes been a Pro Bowl player before. Hes pretty good.It was a rough game for the Chiefs, who lost Smith twice after hits to the head and finished the game with Charcandrick West as their only healthy running back.Smith left on the games opening series, but was cleared by doctors to return. He left again early in the third quarter after Clayton Geathers shoved Smiths head to the turf as the quarterback tried to slide underneath the tackle.Geathers said the hit was not intentional, but the hit left Smith with a concussion and he did not return.But both quarterbacks got the job done.Foles 14-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce early in the second quarter made it 10-0. Smith made it 17-7 at halftime with a 13-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin, and after Smiths second departure, Foles hooked up with Tyreek Hill on a 34-yard scoring pass for a 24-7 lead.Foles finished 16 of 22 for 223 yards with no interceptions.And this time, the Chiefs (5-2) defense prevented Andrew Luck from pulling off another comeback -- similar to the previous time these teams met in January 2014.Luck has three come-from-behind wins this season with Indy (3-5) and tried to deliver another one Sunday, but couldnt get the Colts closer than 24-14.Luck was 19 of 35 with 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one fumble lost on a day his top receiver T.Y. Hilton caught only one pass.I struggled, Luck said. I think every offensive player in the room felt like we let each other down.SOCIAL MEDIA CONCERNThe social media traffic about the hits on Smith came from all corners. Some fans questioned whether Geathers intentionally drove Smiths head into the turf to knockk him out of the game.dddddddddddd Former Colts linebacker Gary Brackett wrote on Twitter that whoever cleared Smith to return should be fired, while the television announcers questioned the play call because of Smiths previous injury. Even Smiths wife, Elizabeth, piped in -- questioning how many hits it takes to draw a flag. Smith took several hits to the head in last weeks game that werent called.TROUBLE WITH TRAVISTravis Kelce exposed an old flaw in the Colts defense, covering tight ends. The Colts struggled with that all of last season, and Kelce took advantage again Sunday. He matched his season high with six receptions in the first half and finished with seven catches for 101 yards, both season highs.SLOW STARTAfter better starts each of the past two weeks, the Colts reverted to their old form against the Chiefs. Not only did they trail 17-7 at halftime, they were lucky it wasnt worse given that Kansas City had a 4 1/2-minute advantage in time of possession in the first half, settled for a 33-yard field goal and missed a 28-yarder.INJURY REPORTChiefs: In addition to Smith, starting running back Spencer Ware missed the second half with a concussion. Ware started in place of Jamaal Charles , who was inactive because of swelling in his surgically repaired knee. Left guard Parker Ehinger also left in the second half with a right knee injury and did not return.Colts: The Colts began the game without three starters and got hit even harder during the game. Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis and right tackle Joe Reitz both left with concussions and did not return. Hilton returned after hurting his hamstring bur wasnt the same. And receiver Phillip Dorsett sustained an undisclosed injury on the second to last play of the game.THEY SAID ITChiefs: If we were at all concerned, we wouldnt have put him back in. Thats the bottom line, Reid talking about the decision to let Smith return in the second quarter.Colts: We took a step back today, thats obvious, coach Chuck Pagano said.UP NEXT:Colts: Travel to Green Bay next Sunday.Chiefs: Host Jacksonville next Sunday.---AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL ' ' '

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