Olympic medallist tragically stabbed to death in Kazakhstan

Olympic medallist tragically stabbed to death in Kazakhstan

Sometimes a tragedy will occur which reminds us all that not even our most famous celebrities or respected athletes are totally safe, and that wealth and prestige offer us no protection against our own mortality. Today, the Asian nation of Kazakhstan mourned the loss of Denis Ten - an Olympic figure skater who was brutally stabbed to death while defending his property from thieves.

The Kazakh news agency Kazinform reports that Ten was stabbed in the thigh in the former capital city of Almaty today, after he confronted two men who were attempting to steal wing mirrors from his car. The blade hit a major artery and left Ten badly maimed. He was quickly rushed to hospital by ambulance, but died three hours later as a result of his injuries.

The national outpouring of grief has been immediate and heartfelt, both from Kazakhstani people and athletes who knew Ten. For instance, in response to the news the minister of culture and sport Arystanbek Mukhamediuly stated: "Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride ... This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss," while American figure skater Adam Rippon tweeted: "He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people ... Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short."

Mirai Nagasu, Ten’s former training partner, tweeted: "The news of [Ten’s] murder hits especially hard for me since I used to train with him. His commitment to his training was something I always admired. It’s hard to believe he is no longer with us and that he’ll no longer be able to share his talents with us."

Denis Ten was born on 13 June, 1993 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and belonged to the Korean minority in Kazakhstan, with a respected lineage. Min Geung-ho, his great-great-grandfather, was a renowned fighter general during the time of the Korean Empire when the now-fractured nation fought for independence from the Japan occupation

Ten attended music school for five years and was part of the choir, and even won the silver medal at the World Choir Games in Busan, South Korea. However, during this time he was also heavily involved in a variety of athletics, including taekwando, swimming, acrobatics karate and tennis, among other sports. However, it was figure skating he soon fell in love with, after he began skating at an open-air rink in his hometown, before later practicing indoor rink in a shopping mall.

In 2003 he went to Omsk to compete in a skating competition. He won, and head judge Alexander Kogan then invited him to another competition in Russia. There he met coach Elena Buianova and began a regime of intensive training at her camp. He later went on to make his Olympic debut in Vancouver, and later competed in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and finished 27th at the Games in South Korea.