Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Victor An of Russia, right, celebrates winning in a men's 1000m short track speedskating final alongside Vladimir Grigorev of Russia, who placed second, at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Olympics: Ahn wins Olympic short track gold for Russia
First Published Feb 15 2014 09:25 am • Last Updated Feb 25 2014 04:47 pm

Sochi, Russia • Viktor Ahn threw his arms up in celebration as he crossed the finish line first, giving Russia its first Olympic short track gold medal. Just behind him Vladimir Grigorev was celebrating, too, as Russia finished 1-2 in the men’s 1,000-meter short track Saturday, igniting a raucous home crowd.

Ahn won Olympic gold medals for South Korea in 2006. His win Saturday made him the first man to win four short track golds — and the first to win Winter Olympic gold medals for two distinctly different countries.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"I spent the whole last eight years for this medal," Ahn said through a translator. "That’s why I cried."

Ahn and Grigorev raced to celebrate with their coaches on the sideline as the mostly Russian crowd tooted horns and waved red, white and blue flags. It was Ahn’s sixth career medal, including two in Sochi.

"I was so touched by the loud applause," he said.

Ahn then skated to center ice, got down on all fours and kissed the ice on the letter C in the logo of Sochi 2014. He got up and hugged Grigorev before embracing Sin Da-woon of South Korea, who had been disqualified.

"We don’t compete with each other on a personal level," Ahn said of the South Koreans. "I just wanted to congratulate them for their performance."

At 31 years and 191 days, Grigorev became the oldest man to win a short track medal.

Ahn delivered his adopted country’s first Olympic short track medal with a bronze in the 1,500. Born in Seoul, he previously competed for South Korea as Ahn Hyun-soo, winning three golds and a bronze at his first two Olympics in 2002 and 2006. A career-threatening knee injury in 2008 forced him to miss the Vancouver Games. Ahn became a Russian citizen in 2011, saying South Korea didn’t provide him the support he needed.

"I proved my decision was not wrong. That’s why today really is very, very meaningful to me," he said. "I wanted to choose an environment that allows me to do the sport I really love. What happened in the past is not important; I forgot it."

story continues below
story continues below

Ahn explained that he doesn’t want stories focused on the negative reasons he left because it wouldn’t be good for the current crop of South Korean skaters. "I already said I feel sorry for my former athletes," he said.

Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands took the bronze, earning the first short track Olympic medal for the Dutch, who are better known as the world’s dominant long track speedskating team. Knegt got into the final after Lee Han-bin of South Korea was disqualified for impeding the Dutch skater in the semifinals.

The Russian men led most of the way in the 1,000, with Ahn and Grigorev working together to try to ensure both got on the podium. There were no crashes in the six-man final.

"Sometimes such strategy doesn’t work, so we have to be very careful," Ahn said. "We played very well and it was a great race."

In the women’s 1,500 final, Zhou Yang of China won the gold in a successful defense of the Olympic title she claimed four years ago.

Shim Suk-lee of South Korea took the silver. Arianna Fontana of Italy earned the bronze, to go with the silver she won in the 500.

Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands, who is competing in short and long track, finished fourth.

Emily Scott of Springfield, Mo., was fifth after advancing to the final when South Korea’s Cho Ha-ri was disqualified. The referees ruled Cho shoved Scott as she tried an outside pass in the turn.

Jessica Smith of Melvindale, Mich., was eliminated in the semifinals, and Alyson Dudek of Hales Corners, Wis., didn’t make it out of the heats.

In the 1,000 semifinals, Lee was skating second with Knegt on his hip, when Lee nearly went down. The South Korean’s momentum carried him and Knegt wide on the track and they fell well behind Grigorev and Sin. After a review, the judges disqualified Lee.

Americans J.R. Celski and Eddy Alvarez were eliminated in separate crashes.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.