Twelve years ago, South Korea’s Ahn Hyun-soo crashed into Apolo Ohno a few feet from the finish line in the men’s short track 1000m at the Olympics.
It sparked an intense rivalry between the two skaters that peaked at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, where Ahn won three gold medals to Ohno’s one.
At the Sochi 2014 Olympics, Ahn won gold again. But now his name is Viktor Ahn, and he skates for Russia.
In 2011 Ahn fell out of favor with the South Korean short track federation. To keep his career alive, Ahn looked for any country that would have him.
The US tried to recruit him, but ultimately Ahn picked Russia because they paid well and he was virtually assured a spot in the Olympics considering the dearth of world-class Russian skaters.
He had to renounce his Korean citizenship to become a naturalized Russian citizen, and he also changed his name. That is how Ahn Hyun-soo became Viktor Ahn.
Now the Koreans are wondering how they let him go. President Park Geun-hye has ordered an investigation into why Ahn was kicked to the curb by the skating federation in 2011.