Apolo Anton Ohno is one of the USA’s beloved speed skaters. He is an eight time medalist and in the last two weeks provided the play by play for NBC’s speed skating broadcast of the 2014 Winter Olympics. He’s definitely one of my favorite sports personalities.
How would we feel if Ohno abandoned his citizenship to represent another country in the Olympics? Because, that’s what Viktor Ahn (Ahn Hyun-Soo), former a gold medalist from South Korea, did for the 2014 winter games. Unhappy with how he was treated by his country’s skating federation, Ahn and his father shopped him around and Russia came up with the highest bid.
So now, Victor Ahn has won two gold medals and one bronze medal for Russia. I wonder what we can expect in the future and if other athletes will be selling their skills to the highest bidding country? There are Olympians representing different countries based on their parents’ nationalities, or through citizenship received by marriage to people from other countries, but this is the first time I’m aware of this kind of Olympic free agency.
Ahn is clearly the best in his sport regardless of what country he represents, but I wonder how fans from South Korea, who supported him over the years, feel about his defection? I know if it were Apolo Anton Ohno, I would be cheering for the other guy.