North Korea's official media has found a consolation prize at the Athens Olympics.
After a poor performance by its mediocre athletes, North Korea claimed that it could have won at least one gold if only its leader, Kim Jong-Il, had competed in a shooting event in Athens.
"The General is an ace marksman," the North's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun said. "General" is one of many honorific titles used to refer to Kim by its 22 million people.
The Rodong Sinmun said the 62-year-old North Korean leader once visited a military shooting range and demonstrated his marksmanship, precisely hitting 10 bottles dangling from a bar 50 meters away.
"The bottles were dancing wildly as the day was windy and the bottles, made of transparent glass, were hard to see," the paper said.
"The General shattered five bottles as soon as he picked up the pistol with his right hand, shifted it to his left hand and then shot the five others."
Kim then instructed soldiers to hone their skills to use their left hands as well as their right hands, saying that their right hands could get injured during battle, according to the paper.
The leader then instructed the soldiers to place great trust in their weapons, Rodong Sinmun said.
"Everything can change in the world, but the pistol does not betray his master," the paper quoted Kim as saying.
"The pistol is an immortal companion of a revolutionary."
A former bodyguard of Kim Jong-il who defected to South Korea in the early 1990s said the North Korean leader is indeed a sharpshooter.