Park Tae Hwan represented his country of South Korea with pride at the London Olympics, winning silver in both the 200 and 400 freestyle. He was supposed to be rewarded for those performance, but did not see any such reward until Wednesday.
In July when Park wanted to resume his training with Australian coach Michael Bohl at St. Peters Western in Brisbane, he had to reach out to his fans to help him with the resources he needed to return to the land down under. His fans showed how much admiration and respect they have for him and donated approximately $60,000 USD to help support his training.
This gesture would not have been necessary if the Korea Swimming Federation had followed through with their commitment by providing Park with the payment he earned in London. According to the South Korean newspaper Arirang News he should have received 50 million won, approximately $46,000 USD for his performance at the Olympics, but the Korea Swimming Federation decided to use that money to help fund the training of another athlete.
The federation gave the resources to a young diver, who was training abroad, without receiving Park’s consent.
When the news became public his fans once again showed Park incredible support putting pressure on the Korea Federation to pay him the money he was owed, which they finally did on Wednesday.
Park then showed one of the reasons why he is so beloved in his country. When he received the money, instead of using it to help him fund his training, he donated the money to help fund youth swimming in South Korea.