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Viktor Ahn
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Athlete
    (November 23, 1985- )
    Born in Seoul, Korea (South)
    Short-track speed skater
    2006 Turin Olympic Winter Games gold (1 km, 1,5 km, 5 km relay) and bronze (500 m); competed for South Korea
    2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games gold (500 m, 1 km, 5 km relay) and bronze (1,5 km); competed for Russia
    2014 World gold (1 km and overall) and bronze (3 km)
    20+ World gold, 10+ World silver medals
    5 ft 4 in (1,62 m), 120 lb (54 kg)
    Born Hyun-soo Ahn
    During the Salt Lake City Olympics, he was involved in a controversial collision in which only one competitor was not affected — and came home empty-handed.
    His father accused the president of the Korean Skating Union of a conspiracy against the younger Ahn.
    An injury to his knee, sustained in a collision at a 2008 training run, left him unable to defend his title or compete properly for two years.
    Worse, factionalism within the skating administration caused him to miss out on the Vancouver games.
    Prior to his ‘defection,’ he knew no Russian.
    He regards Ji-Hoon Chae – winner of a gold and silver at Lillehammer – as his inspiration to compete.
    He was the first short track competitor with a string of three world championships (a Canadian had won four, but not back-to-back).
    When he opted to skate for Russia – on the basis of a simpler citizenship process than in the States – many Korean fans had his back (rather, their uproar was aimed at the KSU bureaucracy).
    His Russian name comes from the derivative for ‘victory’ and a Soviet recording artist of Korean lineage.
    At the Sochi games, he was the first male medalist for his discipline under the Russian banner and the gold medalist for their first gold-silver Olympic finish.
    All told, he has more than 40 gold medals – including at least one in each distance – and more than 10 silver for his discipline.
    In the eyes of many Koreans, he symbolizes not just their own struggles past and present but those of their ancestors.

Credit: Cool It All Right?


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