North Korea's women's soccer coach made headlines yesterday when he came up with a fantastical excuse for his team's loss to the United States in opening round of the World Cup. Kim Kwang-min said his players had been struck by lightning three weeks ago, and were in too weak a state to win the game:

When we stayed in Pyongyang during training there was an unexpected accident so our team was not capable of playing. Our players were hit by lightning during a training match. More than five were hospitalised. The match was on 8 June.

This was the first anyone had heard of the June 8th incident.

Strange as the story sounds, it's not the first time a North Korean official has gone to bizarre lengths to excuse an athletic shortcoming. Here are five strange ways the repressive country has handled sports defeats in the past: