Denis Ten at the press conference
Ten out of Ten for Kazakhstan's bronze medal hero
14 Feb 2014
Sochi, Russia: Three years ago, Denis Ten was skating to the gold medal in the 7th Asian Winter Games in his home country, Kazakhstan. At the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi Olympic Park on Friday night, the Asian Winter Games champion pulled off a remarkable feat by winning the bronze medal in the men’s figure skating championship, behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan of Canada.
The Almaty-born Ten, 20, not only became Kazakhstan’s first medalist of Sochi 2014, but the first figure skater from his country to win a medal at an Olympic Winter Games.
“Today what happened is a very big accomplishment winning the first medal for my country,” he said. “This is a gift to my compatriots and to my country. I hope it’s not the highest achievement in my life.”
On a memorable night for Kazakhstan, Ten went into the Free Skate in ninth position following the Short Programme the previous evening.
Skating 13th in the final field of 24, Ten nailed a quadruple toeloop and seven clean triple jumps to rack up 255.10 points and surge into the lead – a lead he held until Hanyu, skating 21st, took over.
Chan, on next, then knocked Ten down to the bronze medal position, but the young Kazakh held on to claim a place on the podium and had the Russian supporters cheering wildly for him alongside pockets of proud Kazakhs with their distinctive sky blue and yellow flags.
“Russia is a special country for me,” Ten said in the press conference. “I spent seven years there training and they were the best years of my life. I learned a lot.”
He has trained in Los Angeles, California, for four years and has overcome a serious illness and a series of injuries to skate in Sochi and earn his place on the podium.
“I am happy about my performance and to overcome all the obstacles. It was my season’s best and really the best I could have done. It is a wonderful feeling to bring the medal to Kazakhstan.”