Now that the 2014 Sochi Olympics are over, I’m really missing the excitement of competition.
I really loved the stories NBC featured about the Olympians. I really loved the story behind Viktor Ahn.
The 28-year-old Seoul-born skater switched nationalities in 2011 after competing for South Korea as Ahn Hyun-soo in Turin. A career-threatening knee injury in 2008 and multiple surgeries kept him from producing results for his skating club and he didn’t have enough time to qualify for the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Ahn’s team soon disbanded and other teams were already full, leaving him at a loose ends
“I was feeling bad and sad,” he said. “My goal was to participate in another Olympics.”
The shy redhead eventually found a new home in Russia. South Korea law prevents men from holding dual citizenship, so he had to find a new national identity, too.
“I made a decision and I have no regret,” he said. “I would like to thank Russia.”
Ahn carefully avoided saying much about his former South Korean teammates during the games out of respect to them. He said he and his father have argued about inaccurate interviews the elder man has given about his son’s departure.
“I don’t want there to be too much controversy in Korea about me,” he said.
Viktor Ahn was already a Russian citizen. At the Sochi Olympics, he was embraced as a national hero by his adopted country.
Fittingly, Ahn capped his four-medal performance in Sochi with gold in the relay, a medal he wanted the most as a way to unify the team he joined after forsaking his native South Korea.
“I’m so happy to be able to smile in the end with my teammates,” he said.