Denis Ten stood out in sea of excellence

My photo of Denis Ten in the mixed zone at the World Figure Skating Championships in London in 2013.


Crushed to hear of the death of Denis Ten in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

The silver medalist from the World Figure Skating championships in London made a lasting impression on me when he was here.

Denis Ten gave me a couple of fantastic interview at the worlds. He was engaging, always smiling and excited to talk about his freedom fighting ancestor from Korea.

The then 19-year-old took the time to talk to everyone.

It was shocking to hear that he had been stabbed multiple times over car mirrors in Kazakhstan, where he was born.

Reports stay Ten was stabbed after confronting thieves who were stealing his car mirrors. He bled to death.

Ten won the silver medal in London and nearly beat Canadian Patrick Chan for gold.

Ten skated a memorable long program to The Artist .

His choreography and interpretation of  the music was superlative and he stood out among the world’s best.

So amazing was his performance that a petition was started to try to get him the gold.

Ten had the best free skate of the night with a personal best of 174.92. Chan scored 169.41 on the long program, with 267.78 overall. Ten nearly caught him, finishing at 266.48.

An emotional Ten got down on his hands and knees at centre ice at Budweiser Gardens after his skate and kissed the ice. He touched his heart and blew kisses to the audience. Two Kazakhstan flags were seen in the crowd. Later he had one of them as he skated around the arena.

When I talked to Ten about his skating he said it was great-great grandfather who brought him courage on the ice.

Ten’s ancestor was Korean freedom fighter General Min Keung-Ho, who sacrificed his life for Korea’s independence in the early 20th century and is much revered there.

“Sometimes I skate and I think that he watches at me and I have no chance to fail him, to disappoint him. It’s sort of an additional responsibility to me,” he said.

“I wish I could meet with him and talk to him because I know how strong he was. All this helps me when I realize my great-great-grandfather was such a great man.”

Maybe he’ll get his chance to meet his great-great grandfather now. It’s the only consolation as I think of such a ruthless and senseless act that took Ten’s life.

Denis Ten, right, on the podium after receiving his silver medal at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championship. Patric Chan of Canada receives gold and Javier Fernandez of Spain won bronze.  Kathy Rumleski photo



Why sports so important to high school experience

I just love this video.

Today my son’s basketball team won a thriller in double overtime in the semifinal at the Ontario high school championships – OFSAA – in Pembroke.

They now go on to the gold-medal game tonight.

The students at Mother Teresa high school in Northeast London had a chance to watch the game, thanks to a livestream provided by media studies students at Pembroke, where the OFSAA tournament was held.

It is the first time the school has had a boys basketball team at OFSAA.

Even if you don’t play sports, the win was a big one for the school and student body, who celebrated wildly.

These kids will remember this game winning shot as time ran out by Oren Rusagara for the rest of their lives.

Check it out on Twitter.

Canadian champion quit school in Grade 9

Western Fair Raceway regular driver Trevor Henry captured the Canadian harness racing driving championship.

When visiting the track this year there was a lot of talk about Henry’s winning ways. He had 533 victories in 2012.

Jennifer O’Brien wrote a story on Henry’s championship.

With the provincial government-teachers’ dispute at full force, is there a possibility other kids like Henry could just drop out and seek their own way?

I’m surprised Henry could quit school in Grade 9 as it is mandatory to be educated until at least the age of 16 in Canada. How is that enforced?

While Henry’s decision hasn’t impacted him financially, that could change when the slots-at-racetracks program ends in March.

Race dates may be sliced in half

Instead of about 1,600 live horse racing dates across the province, the three-person  Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel is recommending about half that number in order to sustain the industry.

But that means half the number of opportunities for horsepeople to make money.  It isn’t enough to support the number of people in the industry now.

It also said the industry needs government support, but doesn’t give any kind of figure.

The panel says money can be made from a racing-specific lottery, sports books which include single-event sports betting and a  pari-mutuel game that involves betting  on the outcome of past races. Don’t get this last one. Can anyone enlighten me?

Doesn’t really sound promising to me, especially if so many race dates are slashed.