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Dramatic Bends in Viktor An's Life - True Story of Short Track Genius
February 22, 2014 13:10


Photo Credit: http://www.1tvnet.ru
“Russia's Victor An won his sixth career gold medal and became the most successful short track skater ever. “ – BBC Sport
“…the first person to win gold in all four short track events in Winter Olympics history.” – BBC Sport
“Victor An gains revenge against South Korea.” – Yahoo Sports 
Born in 1983, Ahn Hyun-soo was known as a short track star in a country obsessed with this sport.
 
But after winning three medals at the 2006 Turin Games, he had to recover from a serious knee injury and failed to qualify for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. According to media reports, he was sidelined by the South Korean Skating Union to give way to younger talents.
 
“To Korean male athletes, an Olympic medal isn't just a big coin with a strap on. Once they win a medal, they are free from joining the military. In addition, they also receive a national pension fund (around $500 to $1000 USD per month) from the government, for the rest of their lives,” says 9korea.com.
 
Being denied any chances to continue his career, Ahn decided to move to Russia, and in 2011, was granted Russian citizenship. He picked a new first name for himself, Viktor, which is common in Russia and which stands for ‘victory’, and his last name got a new spelling, An. He is reported to have been warmly accepted by the Russian team which wasn’t particularly successful in short track before.
 
According to his teammates, An, being a shy and modest competitor, led them to a completely different level. “We used to be losers, pardon the language, and An instilled us with a winning mentality,” said Semyon Elistratov.
 
He is still loved by the fans in his native country. “On February 15th, the people of Korea gathered around their Samsung and LG television screens and cheered for the Russian speedskating team instead of rooting for their own Korean team. Even they couldn't believe it,” says 9korea.com.
 
“Internet articles covering An were filled with comments congradulating him on his success in Russia. Many still referred to him as "Ahn Hyun-soo," and not "Victor An," as a sign of affection. Some even said they cried when he won the race,” adds 9korea.com. According to the Korean media, the upshot of the whole story is the change that the country is set to see in its sports, with even the president demanding an inquiry.
 
Below is the compilation of tweets by Viktor An’s admirers.
 
Wowsers! Russia’s Victor An - incredible strategy & performance to win gold in the men’s 500 speed skating #sochi
#Sochi @SochiProbIem @NBCOlympics Hey Russia just a reminder Victor An is not a real Russian. --- again you LOSE !!! Ha Ha Ha!!!
Victor An is just an unbelievable, beautiful athlete to watch. His acceleration is downright Ferrari-esque. http://on.wsj.com/1mivETB  #Sochi
Victor An. WHY THE FUCK DID KOREA GIVE HIM AWAY. Gave away 2 gold medals, can't believe this. What an astonishing skater though! #Sochi
Watching Victor An shift up through the gears, the Russian fans are going nuts! This is the loudest I've heard any crowd at #Sochi so far.
Success is the sweetest revenge. As seen by Victor An #sochi
Deffening chants of Russia again as the skaters take to the ice for the mens 500m final #zoesays if An Victor wins its gonna be nuts in here
I don't have idols and very favourite athletes in other sports (except FS) that i thing is super, but now i do ! An Victor #IronManVictor
Viktor Ahn becomes first man to win gold for two distinct countries at Winter Olympics
Cool to see Victor An win gold today. A lot of respect for that guy and his efforts in the sport. #worldclass
S.Korean president wants to know why olympic skater Ahn Hyun-soo had to become Russian named Victor An

 




Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: Sochi Olympic Games 2014 Sochi Games Sochi 2014 Viktor An  

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