Park Tae-Hwan Handed 18-Month Suspension; Will Return Before 2016 Olympics

The FINA Doping Panel has handed South Korean swimmer Tae Hwan Park an 18-month suspension as the result of a positive doping control test. That suspension has been back-dated to September 3rd, 2014, the date of his positive test, and Park will be eligible for competition again on March 3rd, 2016.

This means that the four-time individual Olympic medalist will be reinstated in time to compete at a fourth-straight Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

The positive test came two weeks prior to the beginning of the 2016 Asian Games, that were held in his home country and a pool that was named for him, and all results from that meet will be stripped. That means that he will lose a silver medal in the 100 free, and bronze medals in the 200 and 400 frees. South Korea will also lose its bronze medals in all three men’s relays.

The test came after the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, meaning that he will retain his gold medal in the 400 free from that meet.

When Park initially failed the test, he blamed it on an unknown injection that he received from a chiropractor.

Park still has the right to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On September 3, 2014 the swimmer Tae Hwan Park (KOR) was tested positive to the substance Testosterone (Class S.1.1.b Endogenous Anabolic Androgenic Steroids) with the occasion of an out-of-competition doping control test conducted by FINA.

The full FINA news is below:

The FINA Doping Panel decided according to the FINA DC Rule 10.5.2 to impose on the athlete a period of eighteen (18) months’ ineligibility, starting on September 3, 2014 and ending at the conclusion of the March 2, 2016 for his first anti-doping rule violation.

Furthermore, the FINA Doping Panel decided that all results achieved by the swimmer on or after September 3, 2014 shall be annulled together with the consequences thereof (forfeiture of medals/prizes, reimbursement of prize money).

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4 years ago

It wasn’t his fault it was the doctor’s fault because he gave medications Park trusted

7 years ago

A swimmer banned from Fina and her home national federation for 2 years for performance enhancement drugs is now swimming in a US college and was representing her college at the recent D1 NCAA meet. How does that work and what governs college swimming?

7 years ago

Sun Yang fails a drug test, and gets to “quietly” serve his suspension outside of major meets.
Yuliya Efimova fails a drug test, and gets suspended… until Worlds.
Park Tae Hwan fails a drug test, and gets suspended… until the Olympics.
Michael Phelps “mutually agrees” to step off the Worlds team… until the media circus dies down.

I would almost rather see NO penalties across the board – with the only penalties against unscrupulous trainers – than watch swimming become baseball. I don’t want a sport where a few B-Teamers are booted for show, while swimmers with lawyers and a good PR team get a slap on the wrist.

I still think drug tests are done… Read more »

Reply to  floppy
7 years ago

^ This x 1,000

Pat O
Reply to  Hulk Swim
7 years ago

^^ best comment I’ve read on the Internet in a long while. Spot on.

bobo gigi
7 years ago

Yuliya Efimova is back just in time to shine at home at world championships.
Park Tae-Hwan will make his return just in time before Rio.

Sean S
Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

I don’t think either of those things are things we should be to happy about. I think a much stronger message would be sent if they couldn’t compete in Worlds and the Olympics respectively.

7 years ago

Considering his contributions, achievements and clean history, 18 months is not short.

Reply to  Emmaeileen
7 years ago

“clean” also means not being caught

Reply to  Thefasttaco
7 years ago

No, he didn’t take doping.

7 years ago

How many months can one be suspended before they can’t compete in next olympics? isnt it like 6 months?

Reply to  Braden Keith
7 years ago

Thanks B. You a boss

Joel Lin
7 years ago

I am usually the one stepping in as the athlete’s advocate, but this one leaves me puzzled. How is this offense different from a Russian open water swimmer getting 2 years? That other guy immediately retired because his suspension carried over the Olympics, yet Park will get afforded a windowing effect to permit him to serve what I cynically consider a 4 more month ban. He can’t swim at Words this summer is all of consequence here.

When FINA considers these things, what needs to have some weight is the major competitions count: Worlds and Olympics. If an athlete timed it well enough to get caught very soon after Worlds in 2017, a two year ban may not even… Read more »

mikal W Grass
Reply to  Joel Lin
7 years ago

The suspension is dated from the date of the dirty test not the date of the hearing, if I understand the rules correctly. As with other things in life, it is all timing.

Mikal W Grass
7 years ago

Eighteen months is a big hit but it means nothing if he can still train and compete in the Olympics. in 2016. I guess FINA didn’t believe the chiropractor when he “fell on his sword” and took the blame for Park’s drug use. My guess is that Park and the chiropractor had an ongoing relationship and that it just escalated after not having been caught for sometime. They both tempted fate and both lost. I wonder what will happen with the chiropractor, whether he will lose his license, serve time in jail, or maybe worse.

My theory for what is worth is this: Sun probably juiced to beat Park, and then Park juiced to beat Sun after Sun began to… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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