Winter NOC Doublers

An Hyeon-Su (sometimes seen as Ahn Hyun-Soo) is one of the most successful short-track speed skaters ever, having won 5 World Championships from 2003-07, and winning 4 medals, including 3 golds, at the 2006 Olympics in Torino. He will compete at Sochi in 2014, but if you try to find him under that name, good luck.

He is now Viktor Ahn, and competes for Russia, and will be on the Russian team in Sochi, having started competing there in 2011, and recently achieving Russian citizenship.

At Sochi, Chris Spring will compete in bobsledding for Canada, after appearing for Australia at Vancouver. Anthony Lobello is on the 2014 Italian short-track speed skating team but in 2006 he competed in that sport for the United States. Vic Wild, an American snowboarder who married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, will compete for Russia in Sochi, having obtained Russian citizenship in 2011. And Petr Nedvěd will skate in ice hockey for the land of his birth, the Czech Republic, 20 years after skating for Canada at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.

These are but a few of many examples of the athletic diaspora that has taken place over the last 20 years or so, especially since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Athletes often compete for nations other than the one in which they have lived and grown up. Ofttimes, it is a nation in which they were born, but did not live there long.

Another example this year is the case of Gary di Silvestri and his wife Angelica Morrone di Silvestri, who will compete in cross-country skiing for Dominica. Part of the group often called Olympic tourists, who have no chance for a medal, the di Silvestris became acquainted with Dominica while vacationing there, and when they decided they wished to make an attempt to compete at the Winter Olympics, what better nation to choose than that bastion of winter sports than Dominica?

In 1994 at Lillehammer, Armenia competed for the first time at the Winter Olympics, with a 2-man bobsled team of Joe Almasian and Ken Topalian. Both were from Massachusetts in the United States, and had never set foot in Armenia, but they were of Armenian descent and after learning bobsled, however badly, they were allowed to compete for Armenia at Lillehammer. Both sledders have yet to visit the nation they represented at the Winter Olympics.

In all, 1,496 athletes have represented 2 or more NOCs at the Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games, with 280 of these coming at the Winter Olympics. Most of these have been due to the split-up of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and the re-unification of Germany.

In fact at the Winter Olympics, only 27 times have athletes represented what we term DDNs (distinctly different nations), and only once has this has occurred more than one time for any set of DDNs. This was the case of the Tlałka-Mogore twin sisters, Dorota and Małgorzata, who both competed in Alpine skiing in 1984-88 for Poland (1984) and France (1988).

The other combinations of related nations are obvious – 50 athletes competed for both the Unified Team and Russia, and 43 for both Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, and for Germany and the former West Germany (FRG).

Among DDNs, Canada has had 5 different athletes compete for it and another nation (5 different nations), while Switzerland and Austria have had this occur 4 times each. At Sochi, Viktor Ahn will become the first Korea / Russia mix.

Below we list all the Winter Olympic occurrences of athletes competing for 2 or more NOCs.


NOCMix                                                                                                     ###

Unified Team / Russia                                                                           50

Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia                                                 43

Fed. Rep. Germany / Germany                                                        43

German Demo. Rep. / Germany                                                     28

Unified Team / Soviet Union                                                            13

Slovakia / Czechoslovakia                                                                   9

Unified Team / Russia / Soviet Union                                            8

Bosnia & Herzegovina / Yugoslavia                                               8

Russia / Soviet Union                                                                             6

Unified Team / Kazakhstan                                                                5

Slovenia / Yugoslavia                                                                             5

Unified Team / Ukraine                                                                        4

Belarus / Russia                                                                                        3

Latvia / Soviet Union                                                                             3

Serbia & Montenegro / Serbia                                                         3

Belarus / Unified Team / Soviet Union                                        2

Belarus / Unified Team                                                                         2

Belarus / Ukraine                                                                                     2

France / Poland                                                                                         2

Austria / Unified Team / Russia                                                       1

Belarus / Russia / Soviet Union                                                       1

Unified Team / Kazakhstan / Russia                                            1

Unified Team / Kazakhstan / Soviet Union                             1

Unified Team / Ukraine / Soviet Union                                      1

Armenia / Belarus                                                                                  1

Australia / Russia                                                                                   1

Austria / Bulgaria                                                                                   1

Austria / Germany                                                                                 1

Austria / Hungary                                                                                  1

Azerbaijan / Unified Team                                                                1

Azerbaijan / Russia                                                                                1

Belgium / Netherlands, The                                                              1

Belarus / Kazakhstan                                                                           1

Canada / Czech Republic                                                                   1

Canada / Finland                                                                                     1

Canada / Jamaica                                                                                    1

Canada / Russia                                                                                       1

Canada / United States                                                                       1

Croatia / Yugoslavia                                                                              1

Spain / Germany                                                                                      1

Estonia / Great Britain                                                                         1

Estonia / Soviet Union                                                                          1

Unified Team / Uzbekistan                                                                1

France / Hungary                                                                                    1

France / Korea (South)                                                                        1

France / Netherlands, The                                                                1

German Democratic Republic / Switzerland                         1

Germany / Ukraine                                                                                1

Hungary / Romania                                                                              1

Italy / Russia                                                                                             1

Japan / United States                                                                         1

Kazakhstan / Kyrgyzstan                                                                 1

Latvia / Russia                                                                                         1

Lithuania / Soviet Union                                                                   1

Moldova / Romania                                                                              1

Moldova / Switzerland                                                                      1

Norway / Switzerland                                                                        1

Russia / Switzerland                                                                           1

Serbia & Montenegro / Yugoslavia                                            1

Sweden / United States                                                                    1

Totals                                                                                                     280

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