South Korean Olympic swimming champion Park Tae Hwan spoke at a press conference today, as scheduled, to address the public regarding his FINA-imposed 18-month doping ban. This is the first public appearance by Park since the doping tests came back positive in October of last year.
Per Yonhap News, Park expressly took responsibility for at least putting himself in a position which allowed this situation to occur, stating “When I first learned of the test result, I felt something must have been wrong. But then I realized I should have been more careful. Regardless of reasons or processes, I think it’s my fault that things have come to this point.”
Showing emotion throughout the session, Park said he is “sorry for having disappointed his fans and the South Korean people”. Park would “like to apologize to the people for causing so much trouble with this unacceptable incident.” He also described how the last few months have been “hell….the difficult and lonely time that I felt like dying”, specifically stating that the upcoming 18 months that he is “stripped of the rights as a swimmer will probably be the most difficult.”
Park declined to comment on the 2016 Rio Olympics, responding with “It’s not time to talk about future here as I made a mistake that I myself couldn’t accept,” when asked about the prospects.