Tributes are pouring in from around the world for Denis Ten, one of figure skating’s most popular stars. Ten, the only person from Kazakhstan to ever claim an Olympic medal in the sport, died on July 19 after suffering a severe stab wound to his thigh. inflicted by a thug attempting to steal the side mirrors from his car.
Kazakh news sources report Ten interrupted the thieves and a scuffle ensued. A knife wound to the upper third of the right thigh pierced the femoral vessels, which caused him to suffer severe blood loss. Passersby found him lying in the street and called an ambulance.
Ten, 25, was rushed to the Central City Clinical Hospital where his condition was assessed as extremely serious. Resuscitation measures were immediately started and Ten underwent surgery, but doctors were unable to save him.
The Attorney General took over the case and prosecutors classified Ten’s death as murder. Many of the international media that cover figure skating had interviewed Ten over the years. All are in shock and disbelief that this could happen to him.
Though three suspects were ultimately arrested, tried and sentenced to prison terms, doubts linger about the actual sequence of events that fateful day. Some believe it was a targeted killing.
Beyond Kazakhstan’s borders, Ten was an unofficial global ambassador for a nation largely unknown in the western world. Among the most popular figure skaters on the planet, Ten was honored and respected for his commitment to the sport. The 25-year-old had amassed a legion of fans in life, and perhaps even more in death.
When Ten claimed bronze at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games he said, “It is a very big accomplishment winning the first Olympic figure skating medal for my country. This is a gift to my compatriots and my country.”