November 23, 1985 |
Seoul, South Korea
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Weight||63 kg (140 lb; 9.9 st)|
|Achievements and titles|
|World finals||World Championship
|Personal best(s)||500 m: 41.283 (2013)
1000 m: 1:24.385 (2007, Former WR)
1500 m: 2:10.639 (2003, Former WR)
3000 m: 4:32.646 (2003, Former WR)
|Revised Romanization||An Hyeonsu|
Viktor Ahn (Russian: Виктор Ан; born November 23, 1985 in Seoul) or Ahn Hyun-Soo (Hangul: 안현수) is a Russian Short track speed skating athlete from South Korea. One of the most accomplished Short Track Speed Skaters of all time, Ahn won three gold medals and a bronze medal in 2006 Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy, becoming the most successful athlete there. He is also a five-time Overall World Champion for 2003–2007.
Ahn first began skating in elementary school. The first time he watched the sport on television was during the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer where one of his heroes, Chae Ji-Hoon, took gold in the 500 m and silver in the 1000 m for South Korea. His coach, Kim Ki-Hoon, was a three-time Olympic gold medalist who scouted Ahn and continues to train him. He trains ten hours every day from techniques, speed, and endurance to video analysis.
He participated in the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, making the finals of the 1000 meter short course event but returned home without a medal after a controversial fall involving Apolo Ohno, Li Jiajun and Mathieu Turcotte allowed Australian Steve Bradbury to sweep the gold medal.
In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Ahn won gold medals in the 1500 m and 1000 m events. He set a new Olympic record time of 1:26.739 in the 1000 m, finishing ahead of teammate Lee Ho-Suk and rival Ohno. Ahn also won gold in Men's 5000 m relay along with teammates Lee Ho-Suk (이호석), Seo Ho-Jin, and Song Suk-Woo. He became the second Korean athlete ever to win three gold medals in one Olympics. (Jin Sun-Yu (진선유) accomplished this earlier on the same day.) He also won a bronze medal in the 500 m event.
Rarely taking the lead position throughout the entire race, Ahn's strategy is to follow the leaders, then sprint using an outside passing lane (or occasionally an inside passing lane if the opportunity arises) with only two or three laps to go. In the 5000 m relay at the 2006 Winter Olympics, Ahn made a brilliant pass around defending Olympic champion Canada on the final lap, helping Korea earn the victory. Sports commentators often refer to his "patented outside pass" due to its consistency and tremendous effectiveness.
Ahn Hyun Soo won a total of 4 medals in the 2006 Games, an unprecedented result by any athlete in his sport. He is the first Korean man to win at least 3 medals in a single Winter Olympics.
Ahn won the world junior short track championship in 2002, and finished second to Kim Dong-Sung at his first senior-level world championship competition the same year. He is the first male skater to achieve such feat. Despite being disqualified in the finals of the 500 m and 3000 m events at the 2006 World Championships in Minneapolis, Ahn was able to claim the championship with victories in both the 1000 m and 1500 m events and became the overall world champion with 68 points followed by countryman Lee Ho-Suk with 60 points.
Ahn is the only male short track skater to have won at least three consecutive world championships (having won five in a row); Canadian short track legend Marc Gagnon has won four times, but his titles did not come back to back.
Ahn Hyun Soo finished first in the overall World Cup rankings during 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 seasons. He is also the current world record holder for 1500 m event.
At the World Championships held in Milan, Italy from March 9 to March 11, 2007, Ahn won his fifth world championship, finishing first in the 1000 m and in the 5000 m relay with teammates, Sung Si-Bak, Song Kyung-Taek, and Kim Hyun-Kon. He also won silver in the 3000 m behind countryman, Song Kyung-Taek, and won two bronze medals in the 500 m and the 1500 m. He is the first man to win five world championships.
After the 2006 World Championships, Ahn flew back to Korea. At the Incheon International Airport, Ahn's father, Ahn Ki-Won, had a loud quarrel with the vice president of the Korean Skating Union (KSU), claiming that the coach that did not associate with Ahn and conspired with other skaters to prevent Ahn from winning the title of the overall champion.
The Korean short track team was split into two groups in which Ahn is coached by the women's coach due to conflicts with the men's coach. The tensions have risen so high that the skaters have refused to dine in the same room, sit next to each other on the plane, or even share the same floor with each other. Ahn and Lee Ho-Suk used to attend the same high school together, and even shared a room last year in skating camps, but now rarely talk to each other.
Ahn has mentioned on his personal website that the pressure is too much for him and he has thought of quitting the sport. Due to the issue, KSU has claimed that starting next season, the team will be united under one head coach to prevent deleterious rivalries.
Early 2008 season injury
On January 16, 2008, the Korean Speedskating Union (KSU) announced that Ahn had injured his knee after colliding with a fence during national team training at the Korea Training Center in Taeneung. After being sent to the hospital, the injury was diagnosed as a fractured knee.
Due to the injury, KSU announced that Ahn would not be competing in the ISU Samsung World Cup Series 5 and 6 in Quebec City and Salt Lake City, respectively. It was also reported that he would not be competing in the 2008 World Championships in Gangeung or the 2008 World Team Championships in Harbin, China. As a result of the unexpected injury, it was clear that Ahn would be unable to defend his sixth World title, leaving his countrymen Lee Ho-suk, Song Kyung-taek and Lee Seung-hoon to make up the ground. After undergoing three surgeries, his rehabilitation period was predicted to be around 2–3 months.
After eight months off the ice, a Korean news article reported on September 5, 2008 that Ahn was back training, undergoing approximately two hours of physical reinforcement and skating along with around five hours of rehabilitation accompanied by muscular power training. The article also reported that Ahn is eying the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC.
During the Korean National Team Trials, which ultimately determine the Fall World Cup and Olympic Teams, Ahn was unable to qualify, finishing 7th in overall points (because Ahn didn't compete in the last two World Cup seasons, he needed to finish in the top three in overall points to qualify). Due to his inability to qualify, he did not compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. Despite this, Ahn hopes to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which will most likely be his last games.
Results in Russia
Ahn was the leader in the 3000 meters for the 2011-2012 season. He was also in the first place 5000 meter relay team.
Ahn has been training in Russia and has received Russian citizenship to compete for Russia in the 2014 Olympics. Ahn claimed that the decision was due to lack of support from the South Korean skating association.
- "Ahn Hyun-Soo Achievements". Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- "Ahn defends titles five times in a row". Yonhap News. 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2007-03-12.[dead link]
- "Ahn Hyun Soo Profile". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- Gwang-lip, Moon (2006-04-06). "Korean Skaters Come Apart". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
- "Skating Champ Injures Knee While Training". The Korea Times. 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- "Ahn is back training". Chosun.com (in Korean). 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- "Ahn likely to skate for Russia in Sochi Olympics". The Korea Times. 2011-08-17. Retrieved 2011-12-18.