25 September 2013, 21:36

Victor Ahn: Korean hero of Russian short track

 Виктор Ан

Ahn Hyun-Soo is a three-time Olympic gold medalist in short track. Few years ago, he played for South Korea, but after a serious injury lost his place in the team. His title, authority or even desire to return to the sport didn’t help him. Persistence of Korean athlete impressed Russian sports officials, who invited him to the ice. He started training, got Russian passport and took a new name Viktor Ahn. And now he is preparing for the Sochi Olympics in the Russian team and plans to link his further life with Russia.

Korean Jimmy Jen, who previously worked successfully in the United States, began preparing the Russian team in short track. Under his supervision Russian sportsman won the first World Cup. When he decided to leave the team, another representative from South Korea came. It was Ahn Hyun-Soo … or Victor Ahn. He is the most titled out of all currently performing Russian athletes in winter sports and, probably, he could have taught coaches a lot himself. But as a person from the East, he was brought up in a spirit of respect for the teacher. There were no problems between the award-winning student and new Russian coaches:

"I'm still an athlete. I have a lot to learn. In general, there is no exact answer in short track what is correct. There are some basic things like landing, techniques. But if you look at the world's leading short track sportsmen, you'll see that the landing is different and everyone has different technique. So there is no exact answer, and I'm always open to something new and learn something new."

The process of recovering from injury and returning to sport were difficult and prolonged. Now this period is over. Victor already understands Russian well enough, though prefers to give interviews in the native Korean:

"When I first came to Russia, it was harder compared to what I had imagined. I was constantly thinking of showing very good results that I should succeed very quickly. Perhaps because of this, not everything had worked out so quickly. When I started to go to competitions, started training, I felt that I made ​​a progress and results were improving. And now I think it will be a steady progress up to the Olympics, and I'll try to prepare well for them".

Now the Russian team is leaded by French Sebastien Gros. The strength of this specialist is his ability to find an approach and a recipe of success for each athlete. In the six stages of the World Cup season 2012/2013 the Russians won five gold medals in short track. Three times on a higher pedestal was Victor Ahn. Vladimir Grigoriev won gold in the 1,000 meters in Calgary. And on the fifth stage in Sochi Russians Evgeny Kozulin, Grigoriev, Yelistratov and Ahn became winners for the first time in the relay race.

"You know, I was even more pleased at that moment than when I got my previous awards. Because it was my return, and when I got this medal, I remembered what a difficult time after the injury I had to endure. I was thinking "Oh, I can come back after this, and I can still show some results." Naturally, I felt grateful," said Ahn.

Ahn Hyun-Soo became a Russian citizen and chose the name Victor for two reasons. He wanted to become popular in Russia as another Korean with the same name - a poet, songwriter and singer Viktor Tsoy. And Victor means "winner" and in tune with the English «victory». And he dreams of new Olympic victories. We can only hope that his dreams will come true.




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