Olympic Champion Tae Hwan Park Fails Doping Test

INCHEON – Tae Hwan Park, the 2008 Olympic champion in the 400-meter freestyle, has tested positive for a doping test according to Yonhap News Agency.

Park’s management agency attributes the positive test to “an illegal injection administered by a local doctor.”

“At the time, the hospital offered to give Park an injection, and he repeatedly asked if it contained any illegal substances,” Park’s management said. “The doctor said there would be no problem. And yet it turned out the injection contained a banned substance. With our team of legal experts, we’re trying to determine why the particular hospital injected Park with an illegal substance, and we’re preparing to hold it civilly and criminally liable.”

The agency explained that Park received a “free chiropractic treatment at a local hospital about two months prior to the Asian Games, and received a shot that led to the positive test.”

Park just returned to South Korea after a two-week training camp at SwimMAC.

“He hasn’t even taken cold medicine so that he wouldn’t fail doping tests,” Park’s management agency said, according to Yonhap. “Park is more shocked by this result than anyone else.”

In 2008, Park became the first South Korean to win an Olympic gold in swimming when he won the 400-meter free.  He also took silver in the 200 free that year before coming back with silvers in both the 200 and 400 at the 2012 London Games.

This is the second high profile positive test for a distance swimmer from Asia as world-record holder Sun Yang also tested positive and served a short three-month ban earlier this year.

There was controversy surrounding the timing of the release of information on Sun’s ban, as he had already served his ban before news leaked that he even tested positive.

In other doping news, Yuliya Efimova’s 18-month suspension for a positive test concludes at the end of the month.  So, we should see her start putting up times starting in February.

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. avatar

    It really saddens me to see news like this. Park is one of my greatest idols and he has worked really hard to be where he is today. I really hope that this wouldn’t change people’s impression of him and Asia swimming.

  2. avatar
    Kevin

    Very disappointed especially as it comes months after Sun Yang tested positive to a banned substance. But why would the doctors inject banned substances to Park against his will?
    As for Sun Yang, could Swimming world magazine write an other article and explain more what his own positive test should mean? I swam in the swim team at University. But I don’t know a thing about banned substances and in the last article on Sun Yang I didn’t really understand what it meant that the tested substance was being downgraded from a banned substance to a banned “modulator”? I know when writing an article on such matters one should be cautious but really I couldn’t understant the last article much!

  3. avatar
    Leander

    Unfortunately, it’s never really a surprise to read that a professional athlete has tested positive for a PED, is it? Perhaps we are losing something in translation here, but the explanation does not make any sense to me. Given how many different substances are on the banned lists, why would you let anyone inject you up with anything unless you knew what it was?

Author: Jason Marsteller

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Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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