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Park Pays His Coaches $90,000

Sep 12, 2008  - Craig Lord


Park Tae-hwan, the South Korean 400m free Olympic champion who has attracted endorsement contracts said to be worth almost $100m, has handed the $90,000 bonus he received from his national swim federation to the coaches who helped him get to where he got in Beijing.

The 19-year-old, who also took silver behind Michael Phelps in the 200m free at the Games, received the money from the Korea Swimming Federation in Seoul and immediately passed it on to Roh Min-sang, his mentor from boyhood, and other coaches who have helped along the way.

"My coaches were behind me all the way to my accomplishment at the Olympics," Park said. "This is only a small token of my gratitude to them."

"I'm grateful to Park," said Roh, who suggested that the money would be put back into developing more Park-like talent. Park, meantime, still has some targets to hit: Ian Thorpe's 400m world record being one of them.

Thorpey has moved on, this week opening a new chapter in his life: he is reading psychology and linguistics at Macquarie University. The former Olympic champion was much in evidence on the corporate swing in Beijing last month. 

Now he's ready to settle on a fresh challenge. Home-schooled for much of his elite swimming career, Thorpe, 25, is reported to be enjoying life within a new fraternity. He will study for a Bachelor of Arts degree.