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SOCHI, February 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Speed skater Victor Ahn brought Russia its first ever Olympic medal in men’s short track competition after winning the bronze medal on Monday at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
The short track event is a relatively young Olympic competition as it was included in Winter Games program in 1992 at the Olympics in Albertville, France. Short track at Winter Olympics is dominated by teams from Asia and North America and Russian athletes never stepped on the podium of this sport.
Korean-born Ahn brought the bronze medal for the Russian team in short track men’s 1,500 meters competition, which was held at the Iceberg Skating Palace. He finished behind Canada’s Charles Hamelin and China’s Han Tianyu, who won gold and silver medals respectively.
Speaking after the race, Ahn said he was aware that he brought Russia its first ever Olympic medal in short track competitions and added that the achievement greatly owed to the support of Russian fans.
He also thanked the president of the Russian Skating Union and his teammates, adding that he would try to snatch the gold in short track relay.
Sebastien Cros, the head coach of the Russian short track team, said after the competition that he was satisfied with the medal, but Ahn had all chances of taking the gold.
“I am satisfied with the results on the 1,500 meters,” Cross said. “We have a medal and this is the most important. This was not a grandstand distance for Ahn, but he had chances of winning it.”
The 28-year-old speed skater was born in South Korea’s Seoul as Ahn Hyun-Soo and initially competed for his native country’s team. At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy’s Turin he brought South Korea three gold and one bronze medal in short track.
After the 2006 Olympics in Turin, a set of sustained injuries kept him sidelined from major short track competitions and before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver he failed to qualify for the South Korean national team.
In 2011 he was granted the Russian citizenship and announced his decision to speed skate for Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics.