Short Track Star Ahn Rushing to Become Russian for Olympics

      August 17, 2011 11:36

      Ahn Hyun-soo

      Korea's Ahn Hyun-soo, one of the most decorated short track speed skaters of all time, is likely to represent Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

      Ahn has been looking for ways to make his comeback at the top level of the sport after spending the last few years recovering from a number of injuries. Now he may get his wish as the Russian Skating Union announced that it has applied to the Russian government to grant citizenship for Ahn so he can compete for the country.

      "We have already finished negotiations with Ahn to firm up all the details," it said.

      Ahn, who dominated short track for years, picked up five world titles from 2003 to 2007 as well as three gold medals from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

      However, since his victorious Olympic campaign in Italy five years ago, Ahn became embroiled in an ugly national scandal involving factional divisions within the Korean short track skating community, and subsequently injured his knee in 2008. This forced him to skip the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, and more bad news arrived last year when his team, Seongnam City, was dissolved.

      At the height of the crisis, he accepted an offer from Russia and left for the country this spring. "My only goal is to let people know that I'm back by competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi," he said.

      His presence is expected to boost Russia’s already formidable performance at the Winter Olympics, as it aspires to dominate the medal table when it plays host in three years' time.

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