Japan's Fellow Skaters Bid Farewell to Olympic Medalist Denis Ten
Backstories

Japan's Fellow Skaters Bid Farewell to Olympic Medalist Denis Ten

    Tens of thousands of people have bid farewell to Kazakh skater Denis Ten, who was stabbed to death on July 19th. Ten won bronze in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and became the first-ever skater to bring Kazakhstan a medal.

    Fellow skaters offer condolences

    Fellow skaters around the globe mourned Ten's death. Japanese former star figure skater Mao Asada posted a photo she had taken with Ten on Instagram, along with her message.

    "Why? It's too hard to believe the life of my dear friend has been taken away. We watched each other's shows, and practiced together in Canada and Russia. He was a very warm-hearted person."

    Asada, the Vancouver Olympics' silver medalist, used to train with Ten under the same Russian coach, Tatiana Tarasova.

    Turin Winter Olympics gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa tweeted that the news broke her heart. She said she recalls Ten's charming smile, and that she prays that his soul may rest in peace.

    Rivalry with Yuzuru Hanyu

    Ten was also well-known as a rival of Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu, the winner of 2 golds in the Sochi and Pyeonchang Games.

    Fans often recall a scene in the 2016 World Figure Championships in Boston when Hanyu and Ten got in a quarrel after they almost crashed into each other during warm-up.

    Hanyu offered his condolences with his coach Brian Orser on Instagram, saying, "The skating community has lost a beautiful skater but your passion will live on.”

    Suspects reportedly admit to the stabbing

    Kazakhstan's local police arrested 2 men in the city of Almaty on suspicion of stabbing Ten. The 2 allegedly got into a struggle with Ten after he found them trying to steal his car mirrors. Both have reportedly admitted to the allegations.

    Kazakh fans mourn

    Several thousand people attended a memorial ceremony in Almaty. Some held up banners saying "Forgive us, we couldn't save you," and "Legend." People shed tears and offered flowers at an altar where a photo of Ten was displayed.

    President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in a message read out at the event "He was an outstanding personality, the real patriot of Kazakhstan." People applauded loudly as the casket was carried out.

    Kazakhstan's Embassy in Tokyo has set up a special section for Japanese fans to say goodbye. An embassy official says about 1,500 people visited from July 20th to 23rd.

    In the 2014 Sochi Games, Ten placed a disappointing 9th in the short program. But in the free skating program, he succeeded on all of his jumps. Ten said, "I tried to be clean, fun, artistic and technical all at the same time. The performance was the best and I couldn't do any better." The close-to-perfect performance handed him the bronze medal.

    Figure skating fans all over the world will remember the moment when the young Kazakh skater surprised the world with his strength and talent.