South Korean Olympic swim champ Park Tae-hwan fails drug test

Park Tae-hwan
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Park Tae-hwan, a four-time Olympic swimming medalist, has failed a drug test, according to South Korean media citing Park’s management agency.

The agency attributed the failed test to “an illegal injection administered by a local doctor,” according to Yonhap News Agency.

“At the time, the hospital offered to give Park an injection, and he repeatedly asked if it contained any illegal substances,” Park’s management agency said in a statement, according to Yonhap. “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.”

Park, 25, 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.

“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.”

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”