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Viktor An seeks to return as coach in Korea

Ex-Korean short track star, naturalized Russian applies for job as coach at Seongnam

Jan. 11, 2023 - 21:51 By Kim So-hyun
Viktor An, a South Korea-born short-track speed skating legend with 8 Olympic gold medals, was part of China's national team coaching staff during the 2022 Beijing Winter Games (Yonhap)

South Korean-born Russian short track speedskating champion Viktor An has applied for a coaching job in Korea for the ice skating team of Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, according to local reports on Tuesday.

An, previously known as An Hyun-soo, won three gold medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy as part of the Korean national team, but failed to qualify for the next Olympics after suffering an injury in 2008. He acquired Russian citizenship in 2011 to continue skating in Russia after his local team based in Seongnam was dissolved.

Seongnam, which recently decided not to renew its contract with coach Sohn Se-won, made a job opening announcement last month and plans to proceed with interviews soon.

As a member of the Russian national team, An won gold three times at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and continued his skating career in his adopted country until 2019. He failed to compete at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, as the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from the games due to a doping scandal involving Russian athletes.

After retirement as speedskater, An served as a coach for China’s national skating team from 2019, and helped the Chinese team win medals in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

He was reportedly offered a coaching position on a four-year contract from another foreign national team after the Beijing Olympics, but declined the offer and returned to Korea.