These Olympians’ Tributes To Denis Ten Highlight How He Was Loved Around The World
Kazakhstan's first Olympic medal-winning figure skater died on Thursday, sending fans and fellow athletes around the world into mourning. Olympians are sharing tributes to Denis Ten and celebrating what they described as his extraordinarily kind spirit and beautiful skills on the ice.
According to the Kazakhstan-based outlet Kazinform, Ten succumbed to stabbing injuries in the hospital after he was attacked by two men in Almaty, a large city near the southern border of the country. The Guardian reported that the men had been trying to steal Ten's car mirrors and that officials consider his death to be a murder.
News of Ten's death spread quickly around the globe, months after he'd been on the world stage for an entirely different and happier reason: the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. He came in 27th place — a lower ranking than he was used to after a season he called "very difficult" because it was full of injuries — but remained optimistic about future games.
Ten became Kazakhstan's first figure skater ever to win an Olympic medal in 2014 when he achieved a bronze in the men's free skating event at the games in Sochi. He was 20 years old at the time. The award meant a lot to Kazakhstan, and the country heavily mourned Ten's death on Thursday. "This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss," said Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, the country's minister of culture and sport. "Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride."
But Ten's reach extended far beyond Kazakhstan. Olympians from all over the world shared heart-wrenching tributes to him on Twitter.
"One Of The Most Beautiful Skaters"
Patrick Chan has represented Canada as a figure skater at the last three Olympic games.
"A Bright Star"
Ashley Wagner competed as a figure skater for the United States at the 2014 games.
"I Used To Train With Him"
Mirai Nagasu represented the United States as a figure skater at the 2010 and 2018 Olympics. This year she became the first American woman to successfully complete a triple axel at the games.
"A Huge Inspiration To Me"
Adam Rippon became the first openly gay male American athlete to win a Winter Olympics medal this year in PyeongChang.
"So Very Much Yourself"
Charlie White, along with his partner Meryl Davis, became the first American ice dancers to win gold medals at the 2014 games.
"There Aren't Enough Adjectives"
Jeremy Abbott represented the United States at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
"To Me You Were The Next President Of Kazakhstan"
Evan Bates competed at the last three games as an American ice dancer.
Johnny Weir competed for the United States at the Olympics in 2006 and 2010 and has also become known since then as an LGBTQ activist.
Kristi Yamaguchi won a gold medal when she represented the United States at the Olympics in 1992.
"Words Fail Me"
Rachael Flatt came in seventh while representing the United States at the 2010 games.
Ten was only 25 when he died but profoundly affected the world during that short life. As these messages demonstrate, he will be sorely missed.