Ahn Hyun-Soo won three gold medals in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics on the short track, a discipline dominated by South Korea. Ahn became a national hero but his stardom would prove to be short-lived. Injuries sidelined him and cost him a spot on the South Korean team for the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Ahn felt his country – or at least the South Korean short-track speed skating federation – had turned its back on him during his time of misfortune. He was no longer wanted even after he fully recovered from his injuries. South Korea simply had too many world-class skaters to make room for an old Olympic hero.
Not willing to end his career just yet, Ahn shopped his services around. Eventually, with the help of his father, he settled on Russia, which has never won a single short-track medal but was seeking to become a contender in the sport as it geared up to host the Sochi Games.