South Korean short track speed skater Ahn Hyun-soo, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, will leave for Russia this month to continue his career, the skater’s father said Tuesday.
Ahn Ki-won said the 25-year-old short tracker will stay in Russia for a year, “to study and to regroup” after several difficult past years. The junior Ahn is scheduled to depart after the South Korean national team trials this weekend.
Even if Ahn performs well in the trials, he won’t join the South Korean national team and will still travel to Russia.
“He will enter the trials to show to local fans that he still has what it takes,” the father said.
The senior Ahn said Russian skating officials had been in talks with his son since January this year and the decision was reached in February. Under the deal, Ahn Hyun-soo will join a club run by a municipal government and will also train with the Russian national team.
A South Korean national, Jang Kwon-ok, is a coach of the Russian team. But Ahn Ki-won said the presence of a Korean coach had nothing to do with his son’s move.
Ahn is one of the most decorated short trackers in South Korea, a short track powerhouse with 37 Winter Olympic medals to date. He won five straight overall titles at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships from 2003 to 2007, and won three gold medals at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy.