On this day…

A woman displaced by the Korean War, in a photograph dated the 17th of October, 1950.

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idp_woman_fleeing_pohang_south_korea_in_195017-october-1950-displaced-korean-war

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On this day: the death of a dictator’s mother

Kim_Jeong_Suk_1 North Korea in 1945 Korean anti-Japanese guerrilla, a Communist activist, North Korean leader Kim Il-sung_s first wife, Aged 25

In her mid-twenties in 1945. X

Kim Jong-suk, a Korean anti-Japanese guerrilla fighter, Communist, and mother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, died on the 22nd of September, 1949.

North_Korea_-_Great_Mother_(5015266475) Great Mother Kim Jong Suk safeguarding Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung at the risk of her life.

The “Great Mother” as a fighter in a propaganda painting. X

Twenty-nine at the time of her death, while the official state explanation is that she died of the hardships of fighting for Korea, it is thought she possibly died either giving birth to a stillborn son, from tuberculosis, or from a gunshot wound. Her death is not even mentioned in her biography.

Heo_Jong-suk_and_Kim_Jong-suk_ather_in_Pyongyang Heo Jong-suk and Kim Jong-suk 1948.

The year before her death. X

Kim Jong-suk was the first wife of Kim Il-sung, and the grandmother of current leader Kim Jong-un. She is buried in the “Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery” near Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea.

On this day: the birth of a theatre star

Fred & Adele Astaire. circa 1906. The photograph is a publicity photograph illustrating Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire in a vaudeville act entitled A Rainy Saturday.

Fred and Adele Astaire, circa 1906.

Adele Astaire, stage star and sister of her movie star brother, Fred, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on the 10th of September, 1896. Her birth name was Adele Marie Austerlitz, but the surname was changed to make her sound more “American”. As a child, she and her brother moved to New York to attend the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.

Publicity photograph of Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire in 1921.

In 1921

Three years Fred’s senior, Adele was actually the more successful stage performer of the two siblings. However her brother went on to find Hollywood fame, and while Adele considered moving into film, she abandoned the plan, admitting to being intimidated by her brother.

Astaire married twice (her first husband died in this thirties), and had three children. She was considered the more personable of the two siblings.

She died in January of 1981, at the age of eighty-four.

1992: Ukrainian Champions in Barcelona

The 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona were held from late July to early August. Following the breakup of the Soviet Union the year before, athletes from the former USSR competed under their own flags and national anthems in individual events, and for the Unified Team in group events.

Ukrainian rhythmic gymnasts Alexandra Timochenko and Oksana Skaldina came home with the gold and bronze medals. They are the two fair-haired first place-getters pictured below at the 1991 World Championships.

Alexandra Timochenko (Ukraine), Oksana Kostina and Oksana Oxana Skaldina (Ukraine) (URSS) 1991 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Champions

Under their own flag for the first time, Ukraine’s 1992 female artistic gymnasts also outshone their teammates, with the women winning a further two gold, a silver, and two bronze medals individually, as well as a share in the team gold with their Belarusian, Uzbek and Russian teammates.

Stamp_of_Ukraine_s23 Rhythmic Gymnastics Stamp of Ukraine 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games

Ukrainian stamp from 1992, featuring Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics. X

Despite almost no funding and an ongoing war with Russia, Ukrainian gymnasts continue to win Olympic medals, most recently gold and silver in the men’s competition in 2016. Many gymnasts from the country have moved to compete for other nations in order to access proper training facilities. Following the 2016 Rio Games, the equipment used in the competition was donated to Ukraine’s gymnastics federation.