(ATR) Denis Ten, bronze medalist in figure skating at Sochi 2014 and a "superstar" of the Almaty Olympic bid, is dead at age 25.
Denis Ten with bronze medal in Sochi (IOC Media)
Ten was stabbed in his hometown of Almaty, Kazakhstan on Thursday. Russian media reports say two men were trying to steal the mirrors off his car when they attacked him. He later died of his wounds at a hospital.
The Kazakhstan National Olympic Committee president Timur Kulibayev expressed his condolences to Ten’s family and friends, in a statement saying, “Today is really a rainy day for all of us - who knew, loved and admired the talent and creativity of this remarkable person.
"Throughout his sports career, Denis was an example of determination, strength of spirit and champion character, which at such a young age managed to stand at the origins of the entire national figure skating. Kazakhstan sport lost its outstanding representative today. The whole of Kazakhstan mourns with you.”
IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement “Denis Ten was a great athlete and a great ambassador for his sport. A warm personality and a charming man. Such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.”
Figure skater Adam Rippon of the United States added his sentiments on social media.
Denis Ten talks with reporters in Kuala Lumpur in 2015 (ATR)
Besides winning the bronze medal at Sochi 2014, Ten was the silver medalist at the 2013 World Championship in London and a bronze medalist at the 2015 World Championship in Shanghai. He was also champion of the 7th Winter Asian Games.
A series of injuries hampered his preparation for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. Ten, a member of Kazakhstan’s minority Korean community, would fail to qualify for the long program after placing 27th out of 30 skaters in the short program in PyeongChang.
Ten was an athlete ambassador for the Almaty 2022 Winter Olympics bid. Despite Almaty losing to Beijing in the vote at the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur in 2015, he made his mark with an emotional appeal to IOC members that ended: “I am here for the thousands of young Kazakh athletes dreaming their own Olympic dreams.”
Speaking to Around the Rings
in Lausanne, former Almaty 2022 bid vice chairman Andrey Kryukov, in the city on FINA business, paid a warm tribute to Ten.
"This is so sad to lose him. He had such big potential for Kazakhstan and the world sport community," he said.
"He was our main asset for the bid. He was the superstar for us."
Written by Gerard Farek
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