Olympic Bronze medalist Denis Ten was stabbed to death in the city of Alkany, Kazakhstan, after getting into an altercation with two robbers who tried to steal his car mirror.
Ten made three Olympic appearances during his short life, starting in 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics, then medaling at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and finally having a frustrating, injury-laden appearance at Pyeongchang in 2018. Ten had also won four Continent Championships, as well.
Denis Ten is survived by his family, which includes his father, Yuri Ten, his mother, Oksana Ten, and his brother, Alexei Ten. Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Was the First Skater From Kazakhstan to Medal at the Olympics
Ten was a nationally beloved figure in Kazakhstan for having been the first figure skater from the country to medal at the Olympics.
Of his death, Kazakhstan’s minister of culture and sport, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, said, “Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride. This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss.”
Ten was Kazakhstan’s most accomplished figure skater. In addition to winning the bronze medal at Sochi, he was also the first Kazakhstani skater to make the podium at all. Additionally, he was the 2017 Winter Universiade Champion, and a five-time national champion of Kazakhstan.
2. He Was the Descendant of a Famous Korean General, Min Keung Ho
Ten’s great-grandfather was Korean General Min Keung Ho, who was known for fighting for Korean independence. Competing at the PyeongChang Olympics was especially profound for Ten because there was a status and memorial of Ten’s great-grandfather 35 miles away from PyeongChang in Wonju.
In an Instagram post dedicated to his great-grandfather, Ten wrote, ” My great grandfather is on the list of the 12 most outstanding fighters for the country’s independence. His army was one of the largest and most influential in the whole empire. In 1962, Min Geung-Ho was awarded the Order of the Republic of Korea “Presidential Medal in the Order of Merit for the National Foundation”. This is one of the most prestigious state awards for the contribution to the foundation of the whole country. Every time I come to visit his memorial, I can’t stop thinking, what an honor I’ve been given to be born in a truly great family.”
3. He Won the Bronze Medal While Skating With Two Different Boots
During the week of competition at the Sochi Olympics, Ten skated in two different boots. His American coach, Frank Carroll, said, “He had the left skate from one pair and the right skate on from another pair. We tried six pairs and he had one left and one right that were decent.”
After winning the bronze medal with mismatching boots at 20 years old, Ten said, “It’s ironic I had so many things to go through on the way to win this medal. Today is a very big accomplishment winning the first medal for my country.”
4. Ten Struggled With Injuries at the End of His Career
Ten struggled with multiple injuries leading into the last Olympics appearance he would make, including injuries in his ankle and hip. He ended up placing 27th at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.
Though Ten had never formally retired prior to his death, Billboard reports that he’d “spoken often of his studies in economics and his plans to write a movie script”.
5. Professional Figure Skaters Including Adam Rippon and Patrick Chan Have Taken to Twitter to Commemorate His Death
Of Ten’s death, Canadian skater Patrick Chan said on Twitter that he was “honored and grateful to have shared the ice” with Ten. He continued that Ten was “One of the most beautiful skaters to have graced our sport. My thoughts are with his family during this unimaginable time.”
Adam Rippon shared similar sentiments, tweeting, “My skating friend, @Tenis_Den, passed away today. He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people. Murdered in the streets of Kazakhstan. Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever.”
Mira Nagasu wrote on Twitter that Ten’s commitment to training was “something I always admired.” She continued, “The news of @Tenis_Den ‘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.”