Swimming star Park Tae-hwan entered a boot camp in Nonsan on Thursday. The Olympic medalist obtained an exemption from his mandatory military service when he won three gold medals at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, meaning he is only required to complete the Army's basic training session for four weeks. Most Korean men have to serve between 24 and 27 months.
"I will complete the month and consider this as my final training session of the year. I think it'll help me toughen up both physically and mentally, so I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I'm an athlete, so I should be able to adjust to whatever they throw at me."
After getting his hair cropped on Thursday morning, Park said he was still getting to grips with his new look. He will wrap up his combat training on Nov. 1, after which he is expected to announce his future plans, including whether he will compete at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Park, who is now in his early 20s, has already amassed one gold and three silver medals from the Olympics, and two gold and one bronze from the World Championships.