Park Tae-Hwan Hangs Up Suit, Takes Up Military Uniform

SOUTH KOREA, September 20. ON October 4, Korean swimming sensation Park Tae-Hwan will hang up his swimsuit — temporarily, we believe — to start a four-week basic military training camp at the Nonsan Army Training Camp.

Tae-Hwan is the first Korean to win an Olympic medal in swimming. In Beijing, he walked away with a gold in the 400 freestyle and silver in the 200 freestyle. More recently, in London, he won silver behind China's Sun Yang in the 400 freestyle, after an initial preliminary false start disqualification was contested and overruled.

Although South Korea's current military service law exempts all Olympic medalists from required active duty, everyone must undergo four weeks of basic military training. After their completion of basic training, those exempt can choose to serve for 34 months as a coach or athlete in their sports as an alternative to active duty. Tae-Hwan is one of 43 male athletes from the London Olympics with the exemption.

After his four weeks of training, Tae-Hwan plans to host a press conference discussing his future plans and decisions. Currently, he is working on his Masters degree at the Dankook University. He hopes to become a professor, and is studying at the Graduate School of Education. He already has a bachelor's degree in physical education from the University.

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