March 26, 2023

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Viktor An is no longer needed at home. Why doesn’t he return to Russia?

Viktor An is no longer needed at home. Why doesn’t he return to Russia?

Viktor An is no longer needed at home. Why doesn’t he return to Russia?

The most titled athlete in the history of short track was reminded of Russian citizenship and work in China.

At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Viktor Ahn became one of the main characters, winning three golds in short track. By that time, the short track skater was already a three-time Olympic champion, playing for the South Korean national team. After a long conflict with the local federation, An went to Russia and brought this country three gold medals at the Olympics. Victor was preparing for the third Games, but was not allowed to them and ended his sports career. Ana was happy with everything in Russia, but his wife wanted to return to her homeland. There, the Olympic champion already had problems – he is reminded of both work in China after the end of his career, and performances for Russia. WATCH HERE

Victor AN is one of the heroes of Russia at the home Olympics in Sochi.The romance with Russia is over. Viktor Ahn is coming home

Ana’s conflict in the South Korean national team

An Hyun-soo won the first three gold medals back in 2006 in Turin. Eight years later, Victor Ahn repeated his achievement, although some predicted that he would soon end his career. The rest counted on a couple of medals, but nothing more. An at the Russian Olympics received four prizes, including three golds, and the South Korean team was left without medals at all. It is understandable why local fans brought down a flurry of criticism on the local federation – they did not keep such an athlete! But the situation is not as simple as it seems at first glance.

Ahn also went to the 2002 Olympics, bypassing two more experienced teammates who were among the best in the 1000 meters. In the United States, the athlete was, in fact, a tourist, without bringing a single medal. But the very next year, he began to become almost the god of short track – from 2003 to 2007, Ahn became the world champion five times in a row.

Victor Ahn (right).  Photo Fedor Uspensky, "SE"

Victor Ahn (right).
Fedor Uspensky, Photo “SE”

After the 2006 World Cup, a conflict arose between the Ana family and the Korean Federation. According to the athlete’s father, the coach did not communicate with the short tracker and colluded with his teammates to prevent him from becoming a world champion. An still won, but with difficulty. The South Korean team is divided into two parts: the coach of the women’s team worked with some athletes, and the coach of the men’s team worked with the rest. The division took place not by gender, but by the belonging of athletes to a particular university. They even said that the conflict had grown to such an extent that the athletes refused to be in the same room and sit side by side on the plane.

Ahn hinted that due to such pressure, he could end his career. Therefore, the South Korean federation decided to appoint one head coach after all and stop all the omissions. After that, the athlete once again became the world champion, and then he suffered a setback – a knee injury in training. Ahn was unable to defend his world title, and in the national selection for the 2010 Olympics he took only ninth place.