FINA Hits Tae Hwan Park With 18-Month Suspension

Tae Hwan Park
Photo Courtesy: Asian Games

Tae Hwan Park will be unable to attend this year’s world championships in Russia, as FINA has imposed an 18-month competition suspension on the Olympic champion after he tested positive for an illegal substance last fall.

This keeps Park in play for the 2016 Olympics, as the ban is set to end on March 2, 2016. Since Korea does not hold an official Olympic Trials, the only thing Park would have to do in order to qualify to swim in Rio de Janeiro is find a FINA-approved meet after March 2.

The major impact on the suspension – besides missing world championships – is deeming his performances at last fall’s Asian Games null and void. Park did not perform up to expectations at the Asian Games in his home country of Korea, collecting a silver in the 100 free and five bronze medals (200 and 400 free, as well as the three relays). That would move Shinri Shioura of Japan up to silver medal status in the 100 free, give Yunqi Li of China the bronze in the 200 free and Huang Chaosheng bronze in the 400 free. It would appear that Park’s relay teammates will also have to surrender their bronze medals in the relays. Any money that Park earned from his performances at the Asian Games would have to be returned. Park’s gold medal and performance pay from the 400 free at the Pan Pacific championships last August will not be affected.

If Park earned any money as well from being ranked first in the 400 free in the world in 2014, it is likely that will not have to be returned, since the swim took place before the positive drug test on September 3.

Park claimed innocence when it was revealed that he tested positive for testosterone last September, claiming the chiropractor who administered the injection was certain that no banned substances would be injected. While FINA had been discussing the punishment for Park’s first positive drug test, he spent a couple of weeks training with the SwimMAC Carolina team in preparation for world championships.

Update: According to Craig Lord of, Park’s suspension might last longer than 18 months, as a rule by the Korean swimming federation gives an athlete a minimum suspension of three years for a doping offense of any kind. If the federation imposes that rule on Park, he would not be allowed to compete until September 2017, keeping him out of the 2016 Olympics and 2017 worlds. A suspension of that length could mean the end of a career for the 25-year-old.


  1. Mario Rivera Gaona

    Que mal, ojala pueda recuperar el tiempo perdido y calificar a Rio en otra competencia.

  2. Liam Brodrick

    Ryan Hore 🙁 I was looking firward to seeing him swim at world champs