Photos: North Korea's surreal Mass Games

While everyone else watches the Olympics, Asia's weirdest sporting event transpires in the world's most secretive country
By MICHAEL GAO  |  September 8, 2008

Photo by Michael Gao

North Korea is the only country in the world that regularly holds Mass Games. The concept was originally conceived in Prague, by the Sokol youth gymnastics movement (its name taken from the Czech word for a bird of prey) founded in the mid 19th century. Though officially a non-political institution, the Sokol played an important role in development of Czech nationalism, providing an effective forum for the dissemination of mass-based ideologies. In 1882, the original forerunner to today's Mass Games, then known as a slet after the Czech word for a flock of birds, was held in Prague and featured 1,572 Sokol performers.

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