Poll Reveals South Korean Public’s Support of Park Tae-Hwan

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

South Koreans are rallying behind Olympic gold medalist Park Tae-hwan according to The Korea Herald. A poll this week showed that 70.9 percent of South Koreans want Park to race in this summer’s Olympic Games.

Five Korean women earned Olympic berths, but no men have qualified for the team.

Park pleaded with the Korean Olympic Committee to let him on the team. He is eligible to compete in Rio according to the International Olympic Committee’s standards, since he completed an 18 month suspension on March 2 for a positive test in 2014.

However, the Korean Olympic Committee imposed an additional three year ban, a rule many are calling a double punishment. The Court of Arbitration for Sport threw out a similar IOC rule in 2011.

While the KOC remains committed to its rules, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Richard Pound, has publicly opposed the KOC’s policy.

At last week’s Korean Nationals, Park Tae-hwan competed in the 100, 200, 400, and 1500 freestyles. He was the only man to record a FINA A cut, and even posted the world’s fourth fastest 400 freestyle this year, along with the seventh best 200.

The 26 year old is the only Olympic swimming medalist in South Korean history after he won gold in the 400 freestyle and silver in the 200 freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Games. In London in 2012, Park won silver in the 200 and 400 freestyles.

Read the full Korea Herald story here.