Former short track national team member Victor Ahn (38, Korean name Ahn Hyun-soo)’s return to Korea was canceled.
According to Seongnam City on the 30th, 7 people, including Victor Ahn, applied for open recruitment to select one ice team coach, but it is known that Victor Ahn was not included in the top two multiple candidates. An official from Seongnam City explained, “Through the screening of documents and interviews, various factors such as technology and communication skills were comprehensively judged.”
It is interpreted that the reason why Victor Ahn was eliminated from this recruitment was because the general public opinion and the short track world’s gaze toward him were still stinging. Viktor Ahn, who won three gold medals at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics, was naturalized and changed his name to Russia when his team, the Seongnam City Hall ice team, was disbanded in addition to a fight between factions in the skating world. After winning three gold medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Russia, after retiring in 2020, he led the Chinese national team as a technical coach at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Because of this, criticism arose that Viktor Ahn turned his back on his country and acted as a ‘traitor’. 안전놀이터
As the news of Viktor Ahn’s return was announced, the domestic short track community also protested. The Korea Skating Instructors Federation issued a statement and explained, “When Viktor Ahn gave up his Korean citizenship and became a naturalized Russian citizen, he said, ‘I thought dual citizenship would be possible. However, it was later revealed that he received the Olympic gold medal pension as a lump sum right before naturalization,” and objected to his return, saying, “Honest work ethic of the leader is important for the Korean ice skating rink to be trusted by the people.”
Meanwhile, former national team coach Kim Seon-tae, who applied to hire a coach along with Victor Ahn, was also eliminated. Coach Kim led the Korean short track team at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics and coached the Chinese national team at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.