Swimmer Park Tae-hwan leaves Rio empty-handed

August 11, 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) — Former Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan has left Rio de Janeiro empty-handed.

Park departed for South Korea on Thursday, having failed to win a medal at his fourth Olympics here in Brazil.

He didn’t make it out of the heats in each of his three races — the 400m, 200m and 100m freestyle — and withdrew from the 1,500m freestyle scheduled for Saturday.

Park, the 2008 gold medalist and 2012 silver medalist in the 400m free, finished 10th in the heats and didn’t qualify for the final this time. He’d won silver in the 200m in each of his past two Olympics, but ranked only 29th to miss the semifinals.

In the 100m, Park tied for 32nd. He then pulled out of the 1,500m, citing his lack of training for the long-distance event.

South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan walks through Galeao International Airport in Rio de Janeiro after completing his fourth Olympics in the Brazilian city on Aug. 11, 2016.

South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan walks through Galeao International Airport in Rio de Janeiro after completing his fourth Olympics in the Brazilian city on Aug. 11, 2016.

The 26-year-old said he’d like to compete in his fifth Olympics in Tokyo four years from now.

Park said at the airport it was with a heavy heart that he was leaving Rio.

“I am disappointed,” he said. “Now that my Olympics is over, I have to go home, rest a bit, and think about many different things.”

Park said he wanted to race in the 1,500m but his coach, Duncan Todd, was against the idea because he didn’t feel Park was ready. Park said it was “a difficult decision.”

As for the plans to compete in Tokyo, Park said, “I haven’t even set any plan for the next 12 months, and it’s difficult for me to talk about the future even further down the road.”

“Back in Korea, I will think long and hard about what kind of a path I should take as a swimmer,” he went on. “I will think about what I can do to have good races, and I’m going to have to put myself in better shape.”

Park almost never made it to Rio.

He served an 18-month doping suspension that ended in March this year. When it ended, Park was ineligible for the Rio Games because of a Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) rule barring athletes from representing the country for three years after the end of their doping suspension.

Park challenged the KOC rule at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld Park’s appeal on July 8, the final day to submit Rio swimming entries.

He managed to get into only two competitions this year, and Park pointed to his lack of overall preparation as the main reason for his struggles here.





  1. Younghyun Kim

    August 12, 2016 at 4:30 AM

    As we are aware, failure is the mother of success or is a wonderful teacher. And a wise man always searches for changes, respond to it, and exploits it as an opportunity for the rest of his whole life. After all, we human beings must think about our own past mistakes and why we failed or think back to the past days. Because it itself can be a stepping stone to grow and improve. If needed, you should have been being a much more heavily being in novitiate than others did.

    Park Taehwan is no exception as a pure and a young korean. Because 우리 Taehwan is still young. You can do it. Never must your own forsake its optimistic mind. That is to say, you must recount its precious experiences as a potential swimmer in achieving a goal by overcoming crises and ordeals with its undeniable potential. Above all, you don’t forget that you must take warning by another’s mistakes or by your owns or learn wisdom from the follies of another’s ones.

    On all world weak people’s behalf, this weak and uneducated world worldling asks all world best athletes to be against a/an unfair world and humans’ greed/avarice-intended confused world under the name of your owns’ indomitable challenging spirits. It is your proper duty as a selected star of sports to set an example for all world folk civilians and this divided world. Moreover, this disinterested world worldling calls on the whole countries to make its strenuous efforts to cultivate creative human resources who will lead to this world’s bright future without ostentations and trickeries or tricks, all sorts of wicked acts, . . ., and other many unimaginable humans atrocities. At that crisis moment in this confused world, what’s at stake is how to we human beings can do it or can’t. And needless to say, those same world people must lead this world to the right direction. Good luck!

    2016. 08. 12. in Suwon, Seoul, and at Dokdo island and at East Sea

  2. Pelham

    August 15, 2016 at 1:18 AM

    Well said Kim – very true.