Who Was Denis Ten? Everything We Know About the Late Olympic Medalist

Denis Ten
Denis Ten | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tragedy struck the world of figure skating after it was reported that Olympic medalist Denis Ten was killed in a knife attack by thieves in Kazakhstan.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, on Thursday, Ten was stabbed following an altercation with two men who allegedly tried to steal the mirrors off of his car in the city of Almaty. The Olympian was taken to a nearby hospital where he died a few hours later. He was 25.

“Denis Ten was a great athlete and a great ambassador for his sport. A warm personality and a charming man.” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “Such a tragedy to lose him at such a young age.”

After the news of his death broke, several tributes from figure skaters all around the globe poured in.

Here’s what we know about the late athlete.

Ten was of Korean descent and born in Kazakhstan

Ten was of Korean descent and born in Almaty, Kazakhstan. When he was 10, he and his mother moved to Moscow to train before relocating to Southern California. It was there where he met and started working with Frank Carroll, who also coached Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek.

He trained with U.S. skater Mirai Nagasu

U.S. skater Mirai Nagasu was one of the first to pay tribute to Ten after his death via social media and revealed that she trained with him.

“The news of [his] murder hits especially hard for me since I used to train with him,” she tweeted. “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.”

He was the first skater from his country to win an Olympic medal

Ten was beloved in Kazakhstan as he was the country’s most successful figure skater.

He won the bronze medal in the men’s singles at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and became the first Kazakhstani skater ever to make the podium.

Ten was a descendant of a famous general

His great-grandfather was Korean General Min Keung-ho, who was a member of the Righteous Army which fought to gain independence from Japan.

Ten visited a statue and memorial in South Korea dedicated to his great-grandfather and shared the photo on Instagram writing, “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.”

The end of his career was plagued by injuries

It was very important to Ten that he compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in his ancestral home country. However, he was plagued by multiple injuries in his hip and ankle and only ended up placing 27th out of 30 skaters in the short program.