February 23, 2014
After adding three gold medals and a bronze at Sochi to his four medals in Turin, Viktor Ahn has become the most decorated short track speed skater in history. The Russian-Korean champion gave RT an interview in the language of his adopted homeland.
Few would have bet on Viktor Ahn – formerly known as Ahn Hyun-soo – achieving such stunning results just a fortnight ago. Poised to become a legend in his sport after dominating at Turin 2006 at just 20 years of age, Ahn spent the past eight years struggling with injuries and conflicts with Korean skating authorities, before making Russia his home and finally reaching his full potential.
RT: How does it feel to be an Olympic champion again?
Viktor Ahn: After the competition finished, I couldn’t sleep. I was overwhelmed by the achievement. But I still feel good today.
RT: You previously won three golds skating for Korea, and have won three for Russia in Sochi. Which were more difficult?
VA: These Olympics were much more difficult for me. At Turin, I was younger. Also, after the injuries sidelined me for several years, I did not know what to expect. So that was a challenge.
RT: How do you feel about Russia – before and after Sochi?
VA: I feel at home here, and have felt this way from the moment I arrived.
RT: Which of the medals here in Sochi required the greatest exertion?
VA: Earning the 1,500 meter bronze – it was the first day, and the first race. It was the most difficult distance for me, and if I were to get a bad result in that first distance, doing the other races would have been much harder for me.
RT: Did you expect to reach this level of success when you were going to Sochi?
VA: I had no idea. It is amazing. A lot of people supported me here in the stadium, and this definitely helped.
RT: You’ve been training with the rest of Russia’s team for several years. Do you have any rivals coming up?
VA: Of course. We have a whole generation who are very talented, and this year they are stronger than before. Russia is a big country, and I am proud to be a part of it.