Park Tae Hwan Officially Ruled Out Of 2016 Olympic Games

As the final step of the ongoing story surrounding Korean Olympic gold medalsit Park Tae Hwan‘s doping scandal, the 26-year-old swimmer has officially been ruled out of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, reports Yonhap News.

Park was slapped with an 18-month ban by FINA after previously testing positive for testosterone in the fall of 2014. His suspension was lifted as of March 2nd of this year. However, the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) has an additional punitive rule in place that requires “any athlete who serves a drug-related ban is barred from national teams for three years beginning on the day the suspension ends.”

The rule was originally adopted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2008, but in 2011 the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS), which serves as the world’s top sports tribunal, determined that the regulation, nicknamed the ‘Osaka Rule’ was “a violation of the IOC’s own statute and therefore is invalid and unenforceable.”

In light of the CAS ruling, critics of the KOC argue that, as a member of the international anti-doping community, the KOC should respect international standards.  However, the KOC announced today that it would not amend the rule, which means that Park is now under a 3-year suspension, beginning on March 2nd.


Park had been training in his home nation of Korea as of December 2015, with his eye still on the 2016 Games, hoping the KOC would make changes enabling him to compete. Park won gold in the 400m freestyle and silver in the 200m free event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He followed that performance up with two more medals, both silver, in the same events at the 2012 Games in London.

The 3-year ban would be lifted as of March 2nd, 2019 and, therefore, Park would theoretically be eligible to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games, however, he would be 29 years of age at the time.

Park remains as the only South Korean swimmer to win an Olympic medal of any color.


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6 years ago

Park. If reading this change citizenship. Canada is a nice place.

6 years ago

I believe it when i see it …
Is he the guy who had a false start in mens 400 free prelims in London but then still was allowed to compete in the final, just to win a medal? If this decision will stand, then i will give a lot of respect to Korea, not many other nations wouldve done the same. Its sad that countries now have to ban their own athletes because the governing body of swimming (FINA) doesnt want to do it. Maybe FINA will still find a way to have him in Rio …
After all we are talking about the same federation that wanted to give a wildcard to Phelps for 2015 world… Read more »

Reply to  thomaslurzfan
6 years ago

It wasn’t a false start, he didn’t dive in first, he just had quicker reflexes. He had to persuade people and show people the video in order to still compete, and it took him 2 times. Plus Park is a really good swimmer, and it would be likely he would’ve won at least a bronze.

Reply to  Dan
6 years ago

In which event?
Yang and Guy are better at both events. Hagino for example is better at 200 free and Horton is better at 400 free, not to mention all the other guys (Agnel, Stravius, Biedermann, McEvoy, Stjepanovic, Dwyer, Lochte …).

6 years ago

Uh, before we go overboard praising the integrity of the South Korean authorities, let’s remember that the offices of the Korean Swimming Federation were recently raided, resulting in 14 (at last count) arrests related to corruption.

Recall also that shortly after Park was busted, the KSF and KOC met with Park to discuss strategies to allow Park to potentially compete in the Rio Olympics, despite the doping ban.

So, yes, the decision to keep him out of the Olympics is good for the cause of clean sport, but let’s not get carried away with praising the South Korean authorities as paragons of virtue.

tea rex
6 years ago

Kudos to Korea! Immense pressure to let Korea’s only superstar go to Rio. They should be be commended for choosing integrity and respect for the sport over a possible medal or two.

I wonder if Park’s decision to join SwimMAC did him in. Dave Marsh has a Zero Tolerance policy for dopers. Park failed a drug test almost immediately after moving to North Carolina – smells like his previous coach may have dealt with drug tests more “creatively”

6 years ago

YESSSSSSS – Perfect decision . Off u go Park .

6 years ago

Tae Hwan will actually be 30 (almost 31) for the 2020 games. His birthdate is September 27, 1989.

6 years ago

Double Bravo! Now let’s go test samples from 08 and bet is they are positive

Word Up
6 years ago

Meanwhile, Sun and his other dirty teammates will participate in Rio. And Ye will miraculously recover and get her mojo back for Rio.

Query – has anyone ever compared Ye’s 100 or 200 meter freestyle with her last 100 of the 400 IM swum in London?

Reply to  Word Up
6 years ago

Please give your proofs, otherwise just refrain from slandering.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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