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Six-time Olympic Champ Viktor Ahn wraps up sports career

Viktor Ahn has made a decision to wrap up with his career of an athlete and he has no intentions of working as a coach in Russia

MOSCOW, September 5. /TASS/. The six-time Olympic gold medalist in short track speed skating, Russian national Viktor Ahn, made a decision to wrap up with his sports career, Alexei Kravtsov, the president of the Russian Speed Skating Union (RSSU), told TASS on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old athlete, who was born in South Korea, had been expected to become the head coach of the Russian national short track speed skating team, but according to Kravtsov this is not going to work out.

"Viktor Ahn has made a decision to wrap up with his career of an athlete and he has no intentions of working as a coach in Russia," Kravtsov said in an interview with TASS.

"We had lengthy discussions with him on this issue talking about all possible variants, but due to certain circumstances, primarily family reasons, he decided to make this decision."

Late last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) over doping abuse allegations but allowed clean Russian athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Games under the Olympic flag and in the neutral status of an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).

Viktor Ahn was not among the Russian athletes to receive an invitation from the IOC and missed the 2018 Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

Kravtsov also said that Ahn’s suspension of the IOC from the 2018 Olympics had no impact on his decision to wrap up with sports career although it was hard for him to accept it.

"I do not think that the suspension from taking part in the [2018] Olympics somehow influenced his decision to put an end to sports career," Kravtsov stated. "However, it was undoubtedly a huge blow for him."

"His participation in the [2018] Olympics was initially seen as the last one in his career, which he was eventually planning to wrap up with," the RSSU president said.

Kravtsov also thanked Ahn on behalf of the RSSU for his major contribution into the development of short track speed skating in Russia.

"He promoted this sport in Russia to the fullest extent and he opened up this sport to Russian auidences," Kravtsov said. "After Ahn’s brilliant performance at the 2014 Sochi Olympics many girls and boys decided to take up this sport."

"The Russian national short track speed skating team also improved greatly with the arrival of Ahn and learned a lot from him," Kravtsov added.

Viktor Ahn 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 golds and one bronze medal in short track.

After the 2006 Olympics in Turin, a string of 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 Russian citizenship and announced his decision to speed skate for Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where he clinched three gold medals and one bronze medal.

He is also the six-time Overall World Champion, winning the titles in 2003-2007 and in 2014.