Denis Ten, Olympic Bronze Medalist, Dies After Knife Attack

by By Klaus-Reinhold Kany

July 19, 2018 will be a sad day in the history of figure skating because Denis Ten of Kazahkstan was killed in an absurd and senseless act of violence in his hometown of Almaty in Kazakhstan. He was walking back to his car in the middle of daylight in a residential area and saw two unknown young men who were just trying to steal the outside mirrors of his car. He shouted at them. One of the burglars took a knife and stuck it into Tenís upper thigh. Ten fell down, lost a lot of blood and lost consciousness on the street. Other people nearby called an ambulance which transported him to the nearest hospital. But there he died one hour later, after losing more than half of his blood.

The whole skating community was shocked about his death. For many skaters throughout the world he was a role model.

Lori Nichol, his longtime choreographer, who created with him extraordinary programs, commented, "We must now do everything we can to celebrate everything he did for skating, his family, his country and anyone blessed enough to have known him. It's an unimaginable loss to his family, skating and the world."

Igor Shpiband said: "I am lucky to have worked with him for a couple of weeks in 2011 or 2012. He had a lovely skating and was very passionate about learning. It was a pleasure to work with him on skating skills and steps."

Alban Prťaubert. former French single skate and now TV commentator, commented, "He was of course one of the most talented skater in the world. But most of all, he was one of the kindest and brightest people on this planet.... We will never forget you. We already miss you so much, Denis."

Adam Rippon paid tribute to Ten on Twitter. "My skating friend passed away today. He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people. Murdered in the streets of Kazakhstan. Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever.Ē

Mirai Nagasu wrote on Twitter: "The news of the murder hits especially hard for me since I used to train with him. His commitment to his training was something I always admired. Itís hard to believe he is no longer with us and that heíll no longer be able to share his talents with us.Ē

Aliona Savchenko wrote, "Denis, you were one of the nicest people Iíve ever had the pleasure to meet. I canít believe this has happened to you! Your memory will live on. We will always love you, Denis."

Evan Lysacek said, "Iím filled with horror and sadness to learn of the senseless killing of my incredibly talented friend and training mate Denis Ten. Denis was a rare and special soul; one of the most benevolent young men that ever Iíve known; a treasure to the skating world and to his country of Kazakhstan, where he made tremendous strides in the promotion of sports, skating, and positivity. He was idolized by so many and loved by everyone who knew him. I canít help but to see his mother sitting in the stands of the rink day after day, watching with such pride in her eyes, as her son practiced what he loved. My heart weighs so heavy for her, and for all of those who were lucky enough to know Denis. A life of excellence cut way too short. Rest In Peace my dear friend."

Scott Moir wrote, "So sad to hear of Denis Ten's tragic passing. He was as kind as he was talented. It was an honour to share the ice with him. You will be greatly missed, Denis."

Jason Brown commented, "Denis never ceased to amaze me. His hard work/artistic/brilliance/kindness/passion for skating/ were unmatched. The community lost someone very special. It will never be the same."

Kurt Browning commented, "With the loss of Denis Ten the skating world lost one of our future leaders. Having recently worked with him, I was in awe of his vision and love for the world. He had infinite resources to offer and so willing to share."

Gracie Gold commented, "I am absolutely heartbroken today. The world has lost a kind, brilliant, and talented hero. Some of my fondest memories of skating come from the years I trained with Denis. From late night photo shoots to daily locker room shenanigans, Denis always knew how to make you smile. You will be so missed Denis."

Ten was the first athlete from Kazakhstan who won an Olympic medal. He put his country on the skating map. He organized several great shows in Kazakhstan, the last one in June 2018, with Olympic medal winners and world champions, among them Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.    

At the age of 10, Ten moved from Kazakhstan to Moscow and then in 2010 to California to work with Frank Carroll.

Tenís biggest successes were a silver medal at the World Championships 2013, a bronze medal at the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi, another bronze medal at the Worlds Championships 2015 and Gold at the Four Continent Championships 2015.  He had a legendary reputation for his exquisite step sequences which often got GOEs of +3.

After competing as a tiny boy at five World Junior Championships between 2007 and 2012, his first breakout competition were Senior Worlds 2009 in Los Angeles where he finished 8th. Since 2016 he has suffered from several severe injuries which prevented fulltime training. Therefore in the last three seasons, he was no longer as successful. But his mother Oksana accompanied him to every competition even when was an adult.

But he did not give up and planned to compete again in the coming season. He was nominated for the Rostelekom Cup (Cup of Russia) in November 2018. Moreover, Ten was one of the most articulate, polite, friendly and intelligent skaters in the world. During the application of Kazakhstan for the Olympic Games 2022, he was "the face of Kazakhstan" and he made the official application speech in front of the delegates of the Olympic Committee. Kazakhstan lost, but got only a few less votes than the big favorite China. Ten is a descendant of famous Korean General Min Keung Ho. His family is part of the Korean minority in Kazakhstan.

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