Ahn may represent Russia at Sochi 2014

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Ahn may represent Russia at Sochi 2014


Ahn Hyun-soo

Three-time Olympic short track champion Ahn Hyun-soo is training in Moscow as he mulls an offer to be made a Russian citizen so as to represent the country at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Russian Skating Union said yesterday.

In a statement, the RSU said it has asked a presidential agency to grant Ahn citizenship, thus paving the way for a potentially thrilling short-track showdown in the Russian town in three years’ time between Ahn and his former teammates.

“We talked a lot with Ahn about his decision to perform for Russia and we discussed even the tiniest of details,” RSU President Alexei Kravtsov was quoted as saying. “He renounced his Korean citizenship and decided to put his faith in Russia.”

Kravtosv said he was hoping Ahn would get his Russian passport by October. But the skater’s father, Ahn Ki-won, told Yonhap News Agency that nothing has been set in stone.

“The matter of his citizenship has not been decided, but the Russian union did approach him first,” he said. “And I think Hyun-soo may have replied positively.”

Ahn is one of Korea’s most decorated winter sports athletes. He won three golds and one bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Games in Turn, Italy, and pocketed five back-to-back world titles from 2003 to 2007.

Ahn has been training in Russia since June to revive his career. In 2008, he suffered a career-threatening knee injury that saw him undergo four operations in 15 months. This made him unable to participate in qualifying for last year’s Vancouver Games.

In what amounted to another blow, Ahn’s semi-professional team at Seongnam City Hall folded last year due to financial problems, leaving Ahn to train alone.

“In Korea, Hyun-soo had no support, and he was actually ostracized,” the skater’s father said. “He’s been deeply hurt by what happened.”

Ahn Hyun-soo previously stated his goal as making a triumphant comeback at the 2014 Olympics. Before leaving for Moscow, he said he was planning to enter the Korean national trials next year.

Now critics are saying he may have been swayed by the presence of Jang Kwon-ok, a Korean national who coaches the Russian national team. But Ahn rejected the idea.

Russia has never won an Olympic short track gold medal, while Korea has 19 gold medals and 37 overall, more than any other country.


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

안현수 “러시아 귀화”

소치 출전할 듯 … 한국 국적은 소멸 “이중국적 가능한 줄 알았다”

남자 쇼트트랙 전 국가대표 안현수(26)가 러시아에 귀화하겠다는 의사를 밝혔다.

 이탈리아에서 전지훈련 중인 안현수는 17일(한국시간) 자신의 미니홈피를 통해 “러시아 시민권을 취득하게 되면 우리나라 국적은 자동적으로 소멸된다고 들었다. 처음에는 이중국적이 가능하다고 알고 있었다. 결국 내가 신중하게 생각하고 판단하지 못했다. 이유가 어찌 됐든 반성하고 있다”며 귀화 추진 사실을 시인했다. 러시아빙상연맹은 16일 안현수가 2014년 소치 겨울올림픽에 출전할 수 있도록 시민권을 부여해 달라고 러시아 정부에 요청했다고 발표했다.

 안현수가 귀화를 결정한 이유는 2014년 소치 겨울올림픽에 나가기 위해서인 것으로 보인다. 2006년 토리노 올림픽 3관왕인 안현수는 한체대-비한체대로 갈라진 파벌 논란의 중심에 있었다. 안현수의 아버지 안기원(54)씨는 그동안 “빙상연맹에 부조리가 있다. 안현수를 외국에 데리고 가고 싶다”며 연맹으로부터 불이익을 받아 왔다고 주장했다. 안현수는 지난해 1월 소속팀 성남시청이 해체되고 4월 대표선발전에서 5위로 탈락한 뒤 러시아로 갔다.

안현수는 “하고 싶은 운동을 좀 더 나은 환경에서 집중할 수 있다는 점에서 이런 결정을 내렸다”며 “안 좋은 시선으로 보는 분들도 계실 거라는 걸 알고 있다. 후회 없도록 열심히 준비해 다시 한번 올림픽 무대에서 좋은 모습을 보여 드리도록 노력하겠다”고 했다.
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