By Yoo Jee-ho
KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 (Yonhap) — Even after his hometown of Almaty narrowly lost on Friday to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games, Denis Ten, an Olympic figure skating medalist, refused to wallow in disappointment.
Instead, the 22-year-old chose to start looking ahead.
“I think it was a good fight,” Ten said after Beijing emerged a 44-40 winner over Almaty, with one abstention, in an International Olympic Committee (IOC) vote in Kuala Lumpur. The former Kazakhstan capital, with Ten serving as an athlete ambassador, had been considered the underdog in the buildup to the vote.
“It was our first serious bid (for a Winter Olympics) and I think it’s a good start,” Ten added. Almaty had earlier bid for the 2014 Winter Games but never made it to the voting stage. “In the future, I am sure we will try again. Hopefully next time, we will get good news.”
Almaty’s bid centered on a compact layout for the venues and economic and sustainable operations. Ten said Almaty’s concept “smoothly fits into” the IOC’s “Olympic Agenda 2020,” which was introduced last year in part to lower costs of running the Olympics.
“We will have more meetings and we’ll see where we go from here,” Ten said. “Hopefully, someday, the IOC will make a different decision.”
Ten won the bronze medal in the men’s singles at the 2014 Sochi Games to become the first Kazakh figure skater to win an Olympic medal. He also has a huge following in South Korea because he’s a great-great-grandson of a Korean-born independence fighter, Min Keung-ho.
Ten said he followed the journey that South Korean alpine town PyeongChang took before winning the right to host the 2018 Winter Games. PyeongChang lost to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics and then to Sochi for the 2014 competition.
“I witnessed everything online and I remember how bittersweet the feelings were,” Ten recalled. “Right now, the feelings are probably similar. But PyeongChang won once and I am sure someday, the Olympic Games will come to Kazakhstan, too.”