Park Tae-Hwan Reemerges At Korean Olympic Trials (1:46, 200; 15:10, 1500m) But No Rio

Park Tae-hwan [Photo: Patrick B. Kraemer]

Somewhat moot and mute, the 1:46.31 win by Park Tae-hwan* over 200m freestyle at the Dong-a-Swimming meet, doubling as second-round Korean Olympic swimming trials, for the 2008 Olympic 400m champion will not be going to Rio: even so, back from a doping ban, Park rose to 7th on the 2016 Olympic-year World Rankings.

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Zhen Sun

Based on the conversation coming from Korea, Park is likely to still race in Rio, if he swims good times in the trial. The 3-extra-year ban on Park is based on a “discussion”, it’s not official yet; and it seems no one really wants to stand up and be responsible for that rule.

Moreover, Park has the option to appeal to CAS, which should almost surely clear him of the ban. Am I right?


Park has so much talent; he really didn’t have to resort to banned substances to achieve what he has’s pretty sad.

Zhen Sun, I think if he goes to CAS, yes the Korean sports federation will have to let him swim in Rio.

Craig Lord

Zhen, Korea’s official position is stated: the ban remains in place. That is what we know. Discussion will always be there. If the position changes, we will know it. CAS? Yes, possible, if Park wants to be seen as an athlete who challenged a strong anti-doping position and weakened his country’s stance; if he wants to be seen as someone who forced his way back from a penalty that would have brought a four-year ban had he tested positive just as a few months later – yes, if Park tae-hwan rates his own wishes above such things and the wider fight against doping in sport, then, of course, he must do as he sees fit. There would be a price beyond time in the sin bin to pay for showing up to race alongside the likes of Sun Yang in Rio: reputation, resolve and respect for fellow competitors. I can imagine now what will be written far and wide if Sun and Park were to make the same podium in Rio. I don’t think there would be much sympathy for their protestations. Olympic sport, swimming included, is under pressure to turn words to action, resolve to doing the right thing, to finally favour and fight for the clean athlete. We shall see which way it goes…

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