Park Tae-hwan

Park Tae-hwan

Park Tae-hwan
Personal information
Full name Park Tae-hwan
Nickname(s) Marine Boy[1]
Nationality South Korean
Born (1989-09-27) September 27, 1989
Seoul, South Korea
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[2]
Weight 163 pounds (74 kg)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) freestyle
Club Incheon City Government
College team Dankook University
Korean name
Hangul 박태환
Hanja 朴泰桓
Revised Romanization Bak Tae-hwan
McCune–Reischauer Pak T'ae-hwan

Park Tae-hwan (born September 27, 1989) is a South Korean swimmer. He is an Olympic and world champion who represents South Korea. He is has four Olympic medals, two world titles, and 20 Asian Games medals under his belt. He won a gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle and a silver in the 200 meter freestyle events at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He also won two silver medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in 200m and 400m freestyle. He is the first Asian swimmer to claim a gold medal in men's 400 m freestyle, and the first Korean to win an Olympic medal in swimming. He is known for his impressive range and versatility, as he is able to compete at international level in 100m, 200m, 400m, and 1,500m.[3] He is the first swimmer to swim under 49 seconds in 100m free and under 15 minutes in 1,500m. He remained as the only person to have such impressive range until Sun Yang joined the club in 2013.[4]


  • Personal life 1
    • Career 1.1
    • Early career 1.2
    • 2006 Asian Games 1.3
    • 2006 Pan Pacific Championships 1.4
    • 2007 World Championships 1.5
    • Beijing Bid 1.6
    • 2008 Summer Olympics 1.7
    • 2009 World Championships 1.8
    • 2010 Asian Games 1.9
    • 2011 World Championships 1.10
    • 2012 Summer Olympics 1.11
    • 2014 Asian Games 1.12
  • Personal bests 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Personal life

Born in Seoul in 1989, Park graduated from Dankook University in February 2012,[5] where he majored in physical education. His father is a saxophone player and his mother is a dancer. He currently serves as a goodwill ambassador for 'Dynamic Korea', South Korea's international image-making campaign, alongside international figure skater Kim Yuna.[6] Park Tae-hwan is one of Asia's top men's freestyle swimmers. He was voted Most Valuable Player at the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar where he won seven medals including three gold. The 22-year-old trains in Melbourne and is also a Pan Pacific Champion. He was voted Swimming World's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year in 2006.

Park, as an Olympic and Asian Games medalist, has been granted an exemption from two years of mandatory military service, however is still required to undergo four weeks of basic training, which he reported for on 4 October 2012.[7]


Early career

Park began swimming at the age of 5 when his doctor suggested it would be good for his asthma. He began his competitive swimming career at the age of 7, earning several medals in junior competitions.[8] This early success led to Park's selection to the Korean Swimming Federation as a national team member in 2003. At the 2004 Summer Olympics, which was his first ever international competition, however, Park was disqualified for a false start in the preliminary heat of the men's 400 m freestyle.[9] Park later confessed that he was so disappointed with himself about the mistake, but it motivated him to work hard on starts, and he now has one of the fastest reaction times among top elite swimmers, consistently posting under 0.70 seconds. Shortly thereafter at the 2004 Fina Swimming World Cup, Park was the runner-up in the men's 400 meter freestyle event.

2006 Asian Games

Event Results Time
Men's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal 1:47.12 (AS)
Men's 400m Freestyle Gold Medal 3:48.44
Men's 1500m Freestyle Gold Medal 14:55.03 (AS)
Men's 100m Freestyle Silver Medal 50.02
Men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay Bronze Medal 3:22.16
Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Bronze Medal 7:23.61
Men's 4x100m Medley Relay Bronze Medal 3:41.33

Park continued his competitive success in subsequent years, most notably at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, where he won three golds, one silver and three bronze medals, the most medals won by a single athlete at the Games. He also set two Asian Records. For his success, Park was named an Athlete of the Games.[10]

2006 Pan Pacific Championships

Event Results Time
Men's 200m Freestyle Silver Medal 1:47.51
Men's 400m Freestyle Gold Medal 3:45.72
Men's 1500m Freestyle Gold Medal 15:06.11

At the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Victoria, Canada, Park won two gold medals (in the 1500 meter freestyle and the 400 meter freestyle) and one silver medal (200 m freestyle).

Park was named the 2006 Pacific Rim Male Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine, beating out Olympic medalist (and 2005 awardee) Australian Grant Hackett for the honor.

2007 World Championships

Event Results Time
200 m freestyle Bronze Medal 1:46:73 (AS)
400 m freestyle Gold Medal 3:44:30 (AS)

Beijing Bid

Just after a stunning victory against idol Grant Hackett in the men's 400m freestyle at the 2007 World Aquatics Championships in Melbourne, Park decided to train alone in Sydney, Australia as his own '500-day project', parting with his personal managing team in December 2007. He then joined the Korean national team training base in February 2008 to prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Under Park's personal coach Roh Min-sang and other members of the coaching staff, the national team trained in Malaysia (February 2008) and Guam (May 2008) to prepare Park for his second attempt at the Olympics. He qualified for competition in the men's 200 meter, 400 meter and 1500 meter freestyle events.[11]

2008 Summer Olympics

Olympic medal record
2008 Beijing – Men's swimming
Competitor for  South Korea
Gold 400 m freestyle 3:41.86 (AS)
Silver 200 m freestyle 1:44.85 (AS)
2012 London – Men's swimming
Competitor for  South Korea
Silver 400 m freestyle 3:42.06 (AS)
Silver 200 m freestyle 1:44.93 (AS)

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Park won a gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle event and a silver medal in the 200 meter freestyle event. His winning time of 3:41.86 made him the second fastest man ever in this distance in history, only behind then-world record holder Ian Thorpe whose time was 3:40.08. In swimming 1:44.85 in the 200m freestyle final, Park joined Michael Phelps, Ian Thorpe, and Pieter van den Hoogenband as the only men to have ever swum under 1:45 in the event.

2009 World Championships

Date (in Rome) Event Results Time
July 26 400 m freestyle 12th place 3:46.04
July 28 200 m freestyle 13th place 1:46.68
August 1 1500 m freestyle 9th place 15:00.87

At the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, Park surprised many after failing to qualify to swim in the finals of the 200 and 400 m freestyle.[12] Some blame Park's poor performance on his decision to wear Speedo's LZR Racer in the championships.[13][14]

2010 Asian Games

Event Results
Men's 100m Freestyle Gold Medal
Men's 200m Freestyle Gold Medal (AS)
Men's 400m Freestyle Gold Medal
Men's 1500m Freestyle Silver Medal
Men's 4x100m Medley Relay Silver Medal
Men's 4x100m Freestyle Relay Bronze Medal
Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Bronze Medal

2011 World Championships

Event Results
400 m freestyle Gold Medal

2012 Summer Olympics

Park Tae-hwan swimming in the 400-metre final at the 2012 Summer Olympics

During the 400-meter qualifying heat race, Park was initially disqualified for a false start, which was wrongfully called. Shortly after the South Korean Federation met with the FINA bureau the ruling was successfully overturned and Park was reinstated into the race. FINA was unable to explain why the judge on the pool deck called it a false start, and a FINA official called the wrong call as a "human error maybe." [15] He won silver in the finals of the 400-meter race.[16]

In the 200 m freestyle, Park managed to repeat his silver medal from Beijing by tying China's Sun Yang with a matching time of 1:44.93.[17][18]

In his third and final event, 1500 m freestyle, Park posted a South Korean record of 14:50.61, but missed the podium by a 10.3-second margin behind defending Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia.[19]

2014 Asian Games

Event Results Time
Men's 200m Freestyle Bronze Medal 1:45.85
Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Bronze Medal 7:18.37
Men's 400m Freestyle Bronze Medal 3:48.33

Personal bests


  1. ^ Marine Boy, will become the first Gold medalist?(Korean), Korean Sports Council, Retrieved on August 4, 2008
  2. ^ "Park Tae-hwan Biography and Olympic Results". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Olympic swim champ Park eyes academic future, Yahoo! UK, Retrieved on February 13, 2012
  6. ^ Swimmer Park Tae-hwan as Dynamic Korea,, Retrieved on November 24, 2007
  7. ^ "Park Tae-hwan Enters Army Boot Camp". Chosun Ilbo. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Dynamic Koreans of the year: Kim Yoon-A, Park Tae-hwan,, Retrieved on December 10, 2007
  9. ^ Athletes; Taehwan Park,, Retrieved on August 15, 2004
  10. ^ Doha 2006 - Athletes of the Games
  11. ^ Park Tae-hwan, jumping from Asia to the World(Korean), KBS Special-Beijing Olympics coverage, KBS, Retrieved on August 3, 2008
  12. ^ Park Tae-hwan Is Too Young to Give Up, Retrieved on July 30, 2009
  13. ^ Park Tae-hwan Trounced in 200-m Freestyle, Retrieved on July 30, 2009
  14. ^ Park Tae-Hwan exits in world championship heats, Retrieved on July 30, 2009
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Olympic swimming: China's Sun Chang beats rival Park to gold". Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  17. ^ "2012 London Olympics: Yannick Agnel Earns Second Gold of Meet With 200 Free Triumph; Posts Textile Best; Lochte Out of the Medals".  
  18. ^ "Agnel claims gold in 200m freestyle as Renwick trails home in sixth".  
  19. ^ "2012 London Olympics: Sun Yang Averts Potential False Start Disaster for Relentless World Record in 1500 Free; Ryan Cochrane Second, Ous Mellouli Third; USA's Connor Jaeger Takes Sixth".  

External links

  • Official Webpage by Korean Sports Council(Korean)
  • Athletes' bio of Park Tae-hwan, provided by
Preceded by
Grant Hackett
World Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Kosuke Kitajima