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Scientific Estimation of Park Tae-hwan’s Olympic Performance

Scientific Estimation of Park Tae-hwan’s Olympic Performance

Posted July. 25, 2008 08:53,   


An analysis of swimmer Park Tae-hwan’s records shows that he has high chances to win two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

Sungkyunkwan University Professor Cha Gyeong-cheon said yesterday, “I analyzed the trends of Park’s records over the past three years and those of his major competitors, Michael Phelps of the United States and Grant Hackett of Australia, through a formula model. The result shows that Park will be able to win a gold medal in freestyle 400-meter and 1,500-meter events in the Beijing Olympics.”

Normally, swimmers see their performance decline after hitting the record performance during their peak. Cha estimates Park’s peak at age 19.21 through the formula analysis of his records in freestyle 200-meter, 400-meter and 1,500-meter events since the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The professor said, “Normally, experts estimate the peak of world-class swimmers at age 19 or 20. Park’s peak coincides with the Olympic year.” Park’s age is 18.9 years on August 10 when the final competition of the men’s freestyle 400-meter event is scheduled.

The analysis of Phelps and Hackett using the same methodology estimate their peaks at 20.24 years. On August 10, Phelps will be 23.1 years old, while Hackett will be 28.3 years old.

Cha said, “It appears that Park in his peak would compete against the competitors who have passed their prime time. But they are expected to show fairly strong performance as well.”

He forecasts that Park would record 1:46.28 behind Phelps’ 1:45.41 in the freestyle 200-meter event, while finishing 400-meter and 1,500-meter events at 3:44.31 and 14:54.16, respectively, ahead of Hackett.

Professor Cha said, “The estimation that Park would outdo Hackett is within the error range. It is important that Park is in good form on the competition day, but he would be able to win two silver medals at least.” He offered an accurate forecast of baseball player Lee Seung-yeop’s homerun record in Japan at 41.

With the help of the Korea Institute of Sport Science, the magazine “Science Donga” introduces not only the estimation of Park’s performance but also the procedure of supporting national athletes in swimming, wrestling, weight lifting, archery and gymnastics with sport science as the August special issue.