Pyongyang, North Korea
After the 1988 Summer Olympics had been awarded to Seoul, North Korea doubled down its efforts to present itself as the legitimate Korean state. As part of these efforts, it successfully bid to organize the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang in 1989. Massive construction projects were initiated in preparation for the festival, one of which was the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium. At the time of completion, it was the largest stadium ever built in Asia.
While the stadium is used for sporting events, it is more frequently the site of massive performances and shows celebrating President Kim Il-sung and the North Korean nation. In June–July 2002 it was the site of a large choreographed “Arirang Festival” gymnastic and artistic performance. The extravaganza involved for the first time over 100,000 participants—double the number of spectators, and was open to foreigners. These performances are now an annual feature in Pyongyang, usually in August and September. The event in 2007 was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest gymnastic display with 100,090 participants.
In 2000 General Kim Jong-il entertained Madeleine Albright, the United States Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. Collision in Korea was the largest professional wrestling pay-per-view event ever that was jointly produced by World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. It took place over a period of two days on April 28 and 29, 1995 at the stadium and had an attendance of 150,000 and 190,000 according to local authorities. It did not air in North America until August 4, 1995. American wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has claimed that the actual combined attendance for the two-day-event was somewhere around 160,000 total.
After a two-year renovation project, the stadium reopened in 2015. In July 2017, the Rungrado Stadium played host to six group stage matches as part of 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualification.
In the September 2018 inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea gave a speech with Chairman Kim Jong-un to 150,000 North Korean spectators. The speech has themes of unification, peace, and cooperation.
In July 2019, Marshal Kim Jong-un hosted Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping for a special performance of the Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic performance “Land of the People” entitled “Invincible Socialism” for the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Sino-Korea relations.
Latest Update - 06.09.2020