south korean swimmer makes history

You gotta admit, this is pretty cool. One of the big stories of the Beijing Olympics is U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps' pursuit of a gajillion medals. Yay. But over the weekend, South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan captured the gold medal in the men's 400-meter freestyle swim. It was Korea's first Olympic swimming medal of any kind and its third gold in Beijing: An epic moment for Korean swimmer.

18-year-old Park finished the 400 in in three minutes, 41.86 seconds, the second-fastest time ever in the 400-meter freestyle behind Ian Thorpe's 3:40.08 in 2002. The feat makes him the first Asian to win any Olympic freestyle swimming event since Noboru Terada of Japan won gold in the men's 1,500-meter freestyle at the 1936 Berlin Olympics:
"I think my victory will help break the stereotype that freestyle swimming is the domain of Americans and Europeans," Park said. "I hope this gold medal gives Koreans and other Asians confidence that they can do it, too."
Not bad, kid. Call it a sort redemption for Park, who, as a 14-year-old at the 2004 Athens Olympics disqualified for a false start in the men's 400-meter heat. I gotta admit, I was pretty thrilled to see the kid win. That that, Australia! More here: Park takes on Thorpe's mantle. And here: Park tops childhood hero, claims first gold.

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