AKIPRESS.COM - Denis Ten of Kazakhstan could have retired after unexpectedly winning bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. But his desire to return to his Korean roots in Pyeongchang pushed him to overcome debilitating injuries.
Fans at the Gangneung Ice Arena warmly greeted the 24-year-old during his short program on Friday, Reuters reported. Ten doubled his quad Salchow and triple toeloop, earning 70.12 points. He finished 27th of 30 skaters and did not qualify for the long program taking place on Saturday.
“Everyday I fell asleep in pain, but I would wake up with the hope that it is a day of new achievements, a new fight,” he told reporters. “Unfortunately these hopes did not fulfill themselves today.”
The injury-plagued Ten said he had been training at high intensity only during the last two weeks prior to the Olympics.
He sustained a serious ankle injury last summer, adding to an aching back and hip. He has spent time in a rehabilitation facility in South Korea.
“The last time I was in Korea, I was on crutches,” Ten said. “I didn’t think I would be able to make it here as an active athlete.”