All news

Six-time Olympic Champ Ahn to train under individual program to make comeback with Russia

In 2011, Ahn, born in South Korea, was granted Russian citizenship and announced his decision to speed skate for Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where he clinched four medals

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Six-time Olympic Champion in short track speed skating Viktor Ahn will undergo individual trainings in order to rejoin with the Russian national team, Alexei Kravtsov, the president of the Russian Speed Skating Union (RSSU), told TASS on Thursday.

South Korea’s daily Kyunghyang Shinmun reported in mid-February citing world’s famous short track speed skater Viktor Ahn, 33, as saying that he intended to make a comeback with the Russian national team of short track speed skating and vie for medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics in China. In early September 2018, RSSU President Kravtsov stated that Russian national Viktor Ahn had decided to wrap up with his sports career.

"We have already met with Viktor and discussed his comeback plans - he will be training under an individual program in South Korea and preparing for the qualifiers in August," Kravtsov said in an interview with TASS.

"In case he makes it to the national team, he will start training with the team and competing at tournaments, but if he does not qualify, he will go back to South Korea and will be training in December for the competitions," the RSSU president stated.

"The main task for this season is to make sure that he is ready to reach the level, which he set himself before the [2014] Olympic Games," Kravtsov said. "This is the most important question he had to answer himself at the moment, but he is in the fighting spirit."

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.

In late 2017, 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.