Olympics, Swimming: Tae Hwan Park Captures Gold Medal in Men's 400 Free -- August 9, 2008

By John Lohn

BEIJING, China, August 10. FOR months, Korea's Tae Hwan Park has discussed his intentions of breaking Ian Thorpe's world record in the 400 freestyle. Well, Park didn't get the global standard, but he did capture his first Olympic title. Comfortable from the start, Park bested the competition with a sterling time of 3:41.86.

Still only 18 years old, Park was with Aussie great Grant Hackett for the early part of the race, then opened up during the latter half of the event to become the second-fastest man in history, trailing only Thorpe. The reigning world champion in the event, Park pushed the tempo at the right time because China's Zhang Lin closed with a flourish.

Delighting the home crowd with a silver-medal effort, Zhang reeled in his competition on the last lap, moving from sixth to second on the strength of a 26.15 split. Zhang will be a major contender for a gold medal in the 1500 freestyle, his strongest event. He was followed in the bronze-medal slot by Larsen Jensen, who lowered his American record to 3:42.78. Jensen, too, is stronger in the 1500 and could better the silver he won in that event in Athens.

American Peter Vanderkaay delivered a strong swim on his way to fourth in 3:43.11, just ahead of the 3:43.45 of Tunisia's Ous Mellouli. Aussie Grant Hackett, the silver medalist in the event from Athens, was sixth in 3:43.84. Hackett went out quickly and led at the 100-meter mark, but couldn't keep pace over the last few laps. Whether Hackett can win a third straight 1500 free title is now a question mark. The Russian duo of Yuri Prilukov (3:43.97) and Nikita Lobintsev (3:48.29) rounded out the field.

Results: 2008 Olympic Games - Swimming

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Reaction Time Comments

August 9, 2008 I LOVE IT!
I LOVE IT!!!!!!
Tae Hwan RULES!
Chin-cha choe-ah!!!!!!!
Submitted by: Hodori88
August 9, 2008 Hodori, what do you predict for Tae's 200 freestyle????
Submitted by: paddles
August 9, 2008 I love how no one gave Larsen Jensen any respect at Olympic Trials or these Olympic Games and he comes out and take the bronze in the 400m (setting the AR 2x). Cant wait to see what he has in store for the 1500m.
Submitted by: bob
August 9, 2008 i love larsen. im a big supporter of him when no one else was too Bob. Saying he is cocky and all that other stuff. Larsen just knows how to swim distance free. The best american distance swimmer ever.
Submitted by: WUswimmer
August 9, 2008 I love Larsen 3.
Submitted by: Ako
August 9, 2008 Paddles,
I think he'll do well in the 200, but I don't think he'll be able to beat Phelps. I think the 400 is his best event, and everything else for him now is icing on the cake.... I do think he'll medal if he can sprint fast enough against those 200m guys! What a great opening day!
Submitted by: Hodori88
August 10, 2008 Good time for PVDK too; I wonder if the US could go 1-2 in the 1500 now. Plenty of competition though.
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 12, 2008 Jensen 14:38
Park 14:41
Mellouli 14.42

In the 1500 I think. Park is having a great meet and he'll share the podium with a couple of USC Trojans.
Submitted by: jim
August 12, 2008 I would never count Hackett out. What makes you think Melouli can go 14:41??
Submitted by: liquidassets
August 12, 2008 Mellouli is going to put this together. He's a guy who can take it out 7:50 at the 800 meters without strain and hold up. He was 7:48 unrested in LA in early June. 14:42 is not unrealistic.
Submitted by: jim
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Tae Hwan Park wins 400 Free at Beijing Olympics
Photo By: Reuters

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