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South Korea swimmer Park Tae-hwan begs on hands, knees for Olympic place

Park Tae-hwan

Former Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan of South Korea holds back tears during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 27, 2015. Former Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan of South Korea offered a public apology Friday, four days after receiving an 18-month ban for failing a doping test. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)


Four-time Olympic swimming medalist Park Tae-hwan dropped to his hands and knees in a press conference Monday, reportedly begging for a place on South Korea’s Olympic team.

“I will be grateful if I could be given another chance to serve my country and put on a good performance for the South Korean people,” Park said in Incheon, according to Agence France-Presse.

Park, 26 and his nation’s only Olympic swim medalist, had an 18-month doping ban end in March, but a South Korean Olympic Committee rule prevents athletes banned for doping from competing on a national team for another three years after their suspensions end.

Park has said he was given an injection by a doctor that contained a banned substance, which he was unaware of, that triggered the failed drug test for excessive testosterone in September 2014.

Park competed at the South Korean Olympic Trials in April anyway, sweeping the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyles while knowing he wasn’t eligible for the Olympic team.

Park won 400m freestyle gold and 200m freestyle silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, becoming the first South Korean Olympic swimming medalist. He won silver medals in the same events at London 2012.

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