Netizens Cheer for ‘Viktor’ Ahn’s Bronze Medal Win

The most decorated South Korean skater on the ice in Sochi has been wearing a Russian uniform. Recently naturalized Ahn Hyun-soo, (who changed his name to Viktor Ahn) took the extraordinary step of skating for another country after bitter clashes with the Korean Skating Union (KSU), the country’s officiating body for competitive skating. Netizens placed the blame for the move squarely on the KSU and sympathized with Ahn’s struggle to escape the politics and continue competing.

Article from SportsChosun:

“To Junior Korean Skaters, I Feel Sorrow and Regret” Viktor Ahn says in First Interview

Viktor Ahn celebrates after taking bronze in the men's 500 meter short track race.

Eight year Olympic medalist Viktor Ahn, 29, is in the spotlight.

On February 10th(KST) at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, Ahn took home the bronze in the men’s 500 meter short-track event at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

The medal is the first for Russia, which has never placed in short track events. Ahn is a three-time gold medalist, winning gold for South Korea in the men’s 1,000m, 1,500m and 5,000m relay in the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic Games.

At Torino, Ahn also took home a bronze in the men’s 500m relay, making him the first athlete to have stood on the medal podium for all the speed skating competitions. The “Emperor on Short Track” has shown that he is a force to be reckoned with.

In a press meeting after winning the bronze, Ahn talked about his decision to compete as a naturalized Russian in the Sochi Olympics, “It was not an easy one. I am so glad to take part in the Olympics again. Winning the bronze medal was a load off my mind, and will make it easier to focus on competing at other events.

As for questions over his not so easy decision, Ahn said, “The decision was not easy because of the change in my nationality and also because I wasn’t sure whether I could even make it to the Olympic games after recovering from my injury. I am so happy to be able to stand on this world stage. This was an even more enjoyable experience than Torino. The bronze medal is significant. In particular, I’d like to emphasize the fact that this medal is Russia’s first in short track events.

A knee injury suffered in 2008 ended Ahn’s unstoppable winning streak, and sidelined him for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Ahn made up his mind to shift his allegiance to Russia after a deteriorating relationship with the Korea Skating Union(KSU) and the breakup of his team put his athletic career in jeopardy. He knew that his decision would prompt criticism.

In the press conference, Ahn spoke in Korean. Ahn said, “I am trying to learn the Russian language but I am not good at it, though I can make myself understood with my fellow Russian athletes. I am now on better terms with Russian athletes.”

“What is important is being with the other athletes. I am trying to work together with them. I hope to take the gold at the men’s 5,000 meter relay.

He also said that he has no problems in his relationship with Korean athletes. “It’s natural to be competing with other athletes for a gold medal. But our relationship is not at all uncomfortable. Rather, I am very sorry and regret if I have reflected badly on them,” Ahn said as he smiled ruefully.

Ahn is set to compete in the 500m, 1000m and 5,000m relay competitions.

Like other Olympians, I walk into the arena aiming for the gold. That’s why I train hard every day. But that doesn’t mean I’m not satisfied with the bronze I took home. Winning this medal at the first event will help me relax in the remaining events. The men’s 1,000 meter is not as physically challenging. I can do even better later.”

When asked about his future career, Ahn said, “I will sleep on it after the Olympics. I am not sure whether I will compete in the Pyeongchang Olympics. But it is still too early to retire. I will never leave the ice as long as I am confident I can race as an athlete. I’ll do my best until I retire.”

Viktor Ahn stands on the podium for medal presentation. Ahn's girl friend(L) photographs the scene.

Viktor Ahn stands on the podium for the presentation of his medal. Ahn’s girl friend(L) photographs the scene.

Comments from Daum:Daum:

ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ:

In the 2006 Torino Olympics, Ahn took home all the medals in all the speed skating competitions. The KSU abandoned such a great athlete.

필: [responding to above]

Cheer up Ahn! I hope Ahn will sweep the gold in the remaining events, and squash the KSU.

JinNtoniC:

I think we should shake up the KSU this time. By getting rid of all factions within the KSU, we can have a clean slate like there was with archery.

Laurent:

Some idiots feel inferior and begrudge a genius who is just trying his hardest. Ahn’s case makes my blood boil. Hopefully, Mr. Ahn will win the gold and be recognized in Russia, and lead a happy life while teaching athletes.

ZakSal:

Ahn Hyun-soo, You did a superb job! Korean short track speed skaters have shown a lackluster performance, which is a first since I watched speed skating races on TV. The South Korea public is well aware of what the problem is. Get them out of it.

팅이:

Though you are a naturalized Russian, you are still Korean. I am very proud of you. I think that the KSU idiots should have been expelled overseas.

부르노: [responding to above]

I think the KSU idiots should be branded as an anti-state group, arrested and deported from South Korea after being stripped of all assets.

김수현:

I rooted for Ahn Hyung-soo while I was watching the competition, though I thought that I should have cheered on the Korean speed skaters. Strange as it may sound, my eyes are fixated on Mr. Ahn. Congratulations to Mr. Ahn for his achievement.

실버벨:

The KSU idiots credit themselves when Korean athletes do well, but when they don’t do well, I think they blame the poor performance on the athletes.

Viktor Ahn is chatting with Korean athlete Lee Han-bin ahead of the men's 1,500 meter competition in the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia on February 10 (KST)

Viktor Ahn is chatting with Korean athlete Lee Han-bin ahead of the men’s 1,500 meter competition in Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 10th (KST).

Article from SportsChosun:

Russian President Putin Praised Ahn, Saying, “He demonstrated the spirit of a true Olympian.”

[summary] “Viktor Ahn has shown us what it means to be a true Olympian,” President Vladimir Putin of Russia is quoted as saying when complimenting Viktor Ahn for the bronze he brought his host nation in the men’s 500 meter short track race. Putin added, “He represents Russia well in one of the most interesting and greatest sporting events.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also praised Viktor Ahn, saying, “His achievement is a big contribution to the success of Russia’s team. I hope he will be also blessed in the other speed skating events.”

Comments from Daum:

dywlrudwlrn:

바람꽃:

In South Korea, an athlete cries bitterly over a bronze medal because it is not the gold, and the bronze doesn’t excite the people.

dywlrudwlrn:

Ahn is a great Russian, shamefully abandoned by Korea.

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  • Joey

    Dokdo is Russian territory

  • mei mei

    this random…. but his gf’s so pretty

    • tom

      Average.seen banged better.

      • mei mei

        good for you

        • whuddyasack

          Hey mei mei, you’re comment was deleted but I still received it via email. You don’t have to thank me for understanding you, to be honest I don’t think you were on the wrong. From what I could see, Zappa Frank started the stereotypes and you just told him what you think of people who had so many sexual partners.

          What I found most offensive were the people who jumped on you in some sort of pack mentality. Really sad and disturbing. I don’t think you should have been banned considering those people were also part of the problem and trolling too.

          Cheer up (ง •̀_•́)ง

          We all know how Chinasmack community works. Moderators job is difficult on that site for various reasons. Fauna once wanted to ban on racism but all the laowai replied with typical retarded fashion using excuses like “free speech”.

          I’ve been saying that for a long time, everytime a lone Chinese speaks up, 10+ laowai jump on the poor Chinese like flies on poop. It’s never been fair but you are not alone. Most Chinese reading that drivel support you. ;-)

          No offense to wiener, but Xiao Wiener made me laugh. Hahaha.

          You know, I was banned on that site once by Kai Pan. Don’t take it personally. Consider it you’re win.

          Yes, KBang and Jcrush are a little different, much quieter and I find the moderator at JCrush more proactive in stamping out nonsense.

          • mei mei

            haha xiao wiener really angry i think
            and mr condom (aka zappa frank) always make the racist and offensive statements to Chineses but he’s still fine.
            yeah they’re bunch of hypocrites laowais there.
            the most laughable thing that they all assumed me was dumbed by a laowai guy lol. how can that thing possible when i dont even think they’re acttractive

          • whuddyasack

            I’m glad to see you again too mei mei ^ ^
            Hahaha I think your talent for calling people names surpasses my own. Gotta give you an A for creativity.
            Man, I feel bad but I can’t stop laughing at xiao wiener and now there’s mr condom. 100 times more funny than mr smarty.

            I used words like neckbeard, SWAM (Single, White and Angry Male) and emmm hairy belly.

            Actually to tell the truth I think those 2 laowai are actually among the more reasonable and likeable ones. Mr condom usually makes mistakes, has poor English and often blurts out and says insensitive things. He also misunderstands people. ALOT.

            I think Xiao Wiener isn’t really as angry as the others but he was doing his job in moderating. Although I agree with you, it wasn’t fair that you got banned.

            The others were just dumb and opportunistically took their turns in beating their proverbial dead horse and inflating their fake pride. Chinasmack really is full of the most hypocritical and stereotypical laowai you can find. They are very narrow minded, laogudong type people.

            Yeah, I actually laughed at the dumped by laowai guy comment. That’s like the most typical White guy comment whenever he’s butthurt, it’s just so petty. I think you should get unbanned since many of the hypocrites who say worse things are still there.

            Hmm just wondering are there other artist you are a fan of besides SNSD? I was personally am a fan of IU, she had some really good songs XD. Then I discovered Ai Otsuka hahaha

          • mei mei

            yeah i aslo like Sistar, Taeyang and 2pm, IU is good too

          • whuddyasack

            Yeah IU’s Lost Child got me floored. I enjoy Big Bang, Taeyang and Gdragon too. My cousin adores Super Junior, May’n, Kanjani8 and F4 hahahaha. I’ll admit after a while, all of them grew on me. Even F4.

      • d-_-b

        pics or didn’t happen

  • bumfromkorea

    Sincerely hoping that Ahn’s story will be a catalyst to reform (as in, fire everyone) KSU. And if this is going to be his last Olympics, I hope he kicks ass in the rest of the events he’s participating in.

  • chucky3176

    Putin: “Viktor Ahn has shown us what it means to be a true Olympian”

    Yes. You guys bought him and it cost your country a boatload of money, in exchange for a medal. He is basically a hired gun who will go on to coach the Russian team after 2015, according to Korean papers. But he will never make Russia, his home. Good luck to Ahn though, he deserves the medals and those dumb bastards at the Korean short track federation should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Ferunkul

      You contradict yourself. Russia’s investment paid off greatly and it’s not the medals that matter, it’s the team. It was practically non-existent before he came to Russia, now Russia wins relay races at various competitions, a Russian short track athlete won a silver medal at Olympics too. It doesn’t really matter who Ahn wins medals for, he improved the short track in Russia and, yep, he will coach Russians after his retirement from active sport ad hopefully improve it further. If Koreans don’t want Ahn, it’s only logical that he would go somewhere else to do what he loves to do.

    • fiewnoi

      awww pooor chucky. Ahn is a Russian now. Korea should just shut up and keep her whining to herself.

  • Mighty曹

    Why Russia? Why not Japan?

    • Stefan Xu

      Why not China? Koreans are at least an official ethnic group in China. :)

      • Mighty曹

        The North Korean refugees? :D
        My mom refers to her friend from Shandong as Korean.

        • chucky3176

          He’s probably talking about Korean ethnic minorities in Yabian, Jilin autonomous province in China. Officially there are 2 million ethnic Koreans in China, but these days at least half of them have re-migrated back to South Korea. Korean migration to China began in late 1880’s to throughout the 1940’s, as many Koreans fled the Japanese as well as famines. There are also half a million ethnic Koreans in Japan, another half a million in Russia and the central Asian republics. Their migrations all started around the early 20th century, either fleeing from wars, occupations, or famines. One thing I find about the ethnic Koreans from China. They think of themselves as Chinese, where as the ethnic Koreans from Japan think of themselves as Koreans. I think the biggest reason why this difference is that there’s almost zero discrimination towards the ethnic Koreans in China who have their own autonomous self governed region. Where as in Japan, ethnic Koreans have to put up with daily reminders that they are outsiders despite being in Japan for four generations, and having to deal with Japanese hate groups that demonstrate against them on daily basis, telling them get out of the country or face ethnic cleansing massacres.

          • Mighty曹

            I’m very curious about that as Chinese are, by nature, very ‘regional prejudice’. I guess if the Hans and the Koreans hail from the same region they are treated as the ‘same’ rather than of different ethnicity. BUT…. Chinese are also racists so that brings to question about being ‘ethnical prejudice’.

          • redwhitedude

            I’ve met ethnic Koreans from China. I think they viewed themselves as Koreans in China but put next to a Korean in Korea they are more chinese and are faithful to China.

          • Mighty曹

            And in South Korea they’re probably better treated than the North Koreans.

          • redwhitedude

            Better able to adjust, but you can see that they are not as well of as South Koreans by the manner they dress and so forth. They definately come across a little bit more like country bumpkins than Koreans. It would be like if you were to walk around Korea now dressed like a Korean back in the 80s.

          • Mighty曹

            Chinese in China dress like that. LOL!

    • d-_-b

      He got offers from the US and Russia
      Russia gave him better options.

      • Mighty曹

        I know. I was just stirring up shits. haha…

        • bumfromkorea

          What a bastard, lol. :D

          • Mighty曹

            hahaha… yeah! People need to be more humorous like you and not take everything so seriously.

  • kimgchingchong

    Russia belong to Korea!

    • d-_-b

      you mean “belongs”?

  • http://yoursexycousinrex.tumblr.com/ Your Sexy Cousin Rex

    It’s ok
    Koreans are Russians’ ancestors anyways

    • d-_-b

      We all come from Africa

  • chucky3176

    This whole fiasco with Ahn, perfectly illustrates what is wrong with South Korean sports scene, not just the short track team. South Korean sports authorities does not respect individual talent as much as they respect and demand loyalty to the team. They want robots and drones that win and sacrifice for the team, instead of athletes who show individual talents and individual characters. And Ahn’s case is a perfect example of this mentality. The KSU got rid of Ahn because he refused to sacrifice himself and take out the other players, so that the other Korean gets the gold. By refusing to lose and become a team player, the Korean coaches hated the guy and he became a wangtta. Ahn’s talent and his desire to compete hard and up to his full ability, became a liability to the KSU who got rid of him. This type of mentality is evident not just in short track skating, it reigns supreme in all of Korea’s team sports, including football.

    In Korean football, you will never see in our life time, a Korean Ronaldo, or Korean Messi. Why? Because the system will never allow a player that shines way above the rest. They need a robot that works hard and obeys the coach to sacrifice for the team. Koreans love blue collar players like Park Ji Sung, a player of few talent who will put in 100% effort, will sacrifice himself for the team and for the coaches, a player who won’t stand out too much. On the other hand, Korean coaches hate players like Son Heung Min – a super talent who honed his skills in Germany and who is rapidly becoming a star in Europe. Arrogant, selfish, flashy, full of play imagination, and individualistic – all the words that are the worst characters that define as a good player in Korea. If Son was still playing in South Korea, he probably would not have become what he is today because the Korean teams would have either gotten rid of him, or they would have demanded that he change his style of play, and he would have just been another player in Korea with no particular stand out qualities. Tis one reason why Son who was tearing up Europe, he just couldn’t get a playing time with the South Korean national team. And when he did play for the national team, he was heavily criticized for not being a team player. So he was good enough to start for first league German clubs, but not good enough to play for such fantastically talent laden South Korean national team, often ended being on the bench. A nail that sticks out too much need to be hammered back down. What Ahn’s and Son’s cases tell us about South Korean sports federations is that, if you want to nurture your talent up to the best of your ability and talent, you need to broaden your horizons beyond South Korea and go abroad to the West, where individual talent and ability are more prized and appreciated, over group senses, bending to authority, image, cultural baggages, age, and seniority. This is not just true in sports, but also in other career fields. This is why Korea will never have its Ronaldo, Messi, or Eistein.

  • KCdude

    It’s a good thing that a proud athlete like Viktor An sparks a certain kind of reformation in the Korean sporting scene. It takes a smart or accidental foreigner to reform a sector of a Korean society. Don’t blame me. It’s sad to understand that Korea is full of corruption that makes a dongpo (oversea Koreans) uncomfortable.

    • chucky3176

      It looks like Korea will get no medal in the men’s short track skating event – which is a complete shock for a nation that’s so used to winning all the events in short track skating. Corruption where they chose players based on connections and favoritisms, rather then ability is going to cost Korea’s entire olympic team which only has three medals so far. Another fact: Ahn in his interview with Russian media said he enjoyed practicing in Russia, as opposed to in Korea where he hated the workouts. Looking at Korea’s overall attitude toward work and study, does anyone even have to wonder why?

      Koreans are never going to be good at sports. Why? Because Koreans don’t know how to enjoy sports nor do Koreans think sports is something to be enjoyed. All the smart kids are forbidden to do any sports. It’s the dumb incorrigible kids who are allowed to go into sports. Then these sports federations, like the KPOP entertainment companies, shape and mold them using military style regiments. What is supposed to be a time of enjoyment, is turned into regimented work through 1980’s East European style over management.

      • KCdude

        “What is supposed to be a time of enjoyment, is turned into regimented work through 1980’s East European style over management.”

        It’s shocking to say. South Korea is no different from a backward Eastern European country in this case. I’m telling you. I fear that South Koreans are acting like commies especially in sports.

        • chucky3176

          Victor Ahn just won another gold medal for Russia, with another Russian getting the silver. The Koreans were completely shut out of the medals in the event, thanks largely to Ahn, and with some glorious bumbling mistakes by Korean skaters. And they said Ahn was too old and wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t as if Ahn didn’t a solid career winning 48 medals for Korea in the three Olympics and countless world competitions, yet they treated him so poorly because they said he was too old. This has made a completely mockery and fools out of the Korean skating association who picked the team.

          Age discrimination in jobs, another characteristic of Korean culture, and sports is no exception.

  • That’s marvelous

    Korea is funny. I saw a tv show where they complained about the thick legs of Lee Sang-Hwa (women’s 500m olympic champion and world record holder).

    That’s called muscles. You need them to win at sports. lol

    The media sweetheart is Kim Yon-A of course. She does figure skating which is essentially a beauty contest instead of a sport.

    • Sillian

      What show? I can check whether they literally ‘complained’.

      Figure skaters also go through very hard training. Not many will agree that it is essentially a beauty contest although there is such an aspect.

      • That’s marvelous

        Don’t know the name of the show. They just showed a part on Dutch tv as a WTF moment. It was translated, but my gf said it was accurate (and actually a bit more nasty than the translation). I remember they were discussing long-track skating, Lee Sang-Hwa and the Lee guy that does longer distances and won gold 4 years ago but got rolled this year by the Orange Machine. Some standard show with 2/3 guys doing the talking and 2/3 girls looking pretty.

        Hard training doesnt make something a sport. Many people train hard for many things, but sports should be about faster/higher/further/etc and not jury-based imo.

        Anyway, I’ll take Lee over Kim any day.

        • Sillian

          On Dutch TV as a WTF moment? That sounds even more weird!

          Do you also think gymnastics is not a sport then? By definition, it is a sport but I guess you mean you don’t find jury-based sports interesting.

          • That’s marvelous

            Well, the way of thinking is so strange to us. That everything in Korea is about appearance, is wtf.

            Jury-sports are flawed. Remember the incident at one of the previous olympics? An unknown athlete had a super performance, but lost to a well-known athlete doing mediocre. The whole crowd and everybody at home saw that the unknown was better and everybody started boo-ing for minutes. In the end, the jury changed the score to give them both a gold medal.

            People that have been on juries also admit this; the past performances or celebrity status counts, and inflates the score they get from the jury. That kills it for me. I can accept that one gets beaten by 0.001 second, but losing because the other is prettier or ‘the star’, not acceptable.

          • Sillian

            I’m wondering why a Dutch TV station would monitor some foreign Asian TV show like that? Is Lee Sang-hwa that relevant for Dutch audience? I’m just not getting the context and relevance.

          • That’s marvelous

            Ah, because speed-skating is a really big thing in Netherlands. Many foreign skaters are more famous in here than in their own country.

            Also the Koreans always refuse to talk to Dutch journalists, so they looked for other sources. Lee said she already gets crazy over the media attention in Korea so she doesn’t want the Dutch media madness as well.

          • Sillian

            Gotcha. Thanks for the explanation.

          • d-_-b

            Can you show me a clip of this Dutch show?

  • bumfromkorea

    Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced today that, after the Sochi Olympics, they will be investigating the Korea Skating Union for corruption/abuse.

    It’s a bit of a ‘Fixing the stable after losing the cow’, but still.

    • chucky3176

      This only happened because Ahn won all the medals for Russia and Korea got none. If Korea won all the medals, there would have been nothing done about it.

      What I want the minister of culture and sports to do, is to look at the entire forest and not just the tree. What is he doing to encourage young people to take up sports, and advance sports in Korea? I don’t care if Korea never wins medals in Olympics, that’s not important. What I want to see is people, especially young people to be actively involved in sports, not just watch them on TV. I know that I probably don’t make any sense to a lot of Koreans, but it’s stupid to direct state money to specially train athletes in targeted events. It may give Korea gold medals every four years, but it does nothing to advance sports for the vast majority of Koreans who are not chosen athletes. With the money that goes into training warriors in state funded facilities, take the same money and build/improve facilities and systems so that ordinary citizens can enjoy those investments and enjoy playing sports. For this to happen though, Korea’s entire culture of work/play need to change, as well as the attitude toward sports need to change. Sports is about more than winning medals and international prestige. It’s about preventing four eyed fat kids sleeping 5 hours a day staying up all night to study for exams then after graduating, going into work for companies for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, becoming work zombies. Meanwhile he can’t even do 10 pushups. Sports is about healthy attitude, mentally and physically, and reducing societal stress. It’s all about balance and harmony. I don’t care about no fucking medals in meaningless Olympics. What I do care about is the health of Korea, why are people working themselves to death and for what? Please Minister of Culture and Sports, Ms President, whoever is in charge of the policies, please free the Korean young people from this outrageous bondage.

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