Denis Ten's murderers sentenced to 18 years in prison 

Sochi 2014 figure skating bronze medallist was stabbed to death in July 2018 after two men tried to steal his car mirrors.

Two men have been sentenced to 18 years in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten.

A local court in Almaty found Arman Kudaibergenov and Nurali Kiyasov guilty of killing the Sochi 2014 bronze medallist, while attempting to steal mirrors from his car in the attack on 19 July last year.

The 25-year-old skater was stabbed in the thigh, causing his femoral artery to rupture. He died from severe blood loss in hospital in Almaty.

Female co-defendant Zhanar Tolybaeva was handed a four-year jail sentence for complicity in theft and failing to report the crime.

A memorial to Denis Ten in Almaty, Kazakhstan the day after his murder in July 2018

Ten's legacy

Ten was a massive star in his home country.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1990, Kazakhstan made its Olympic debut at Lillehammer 1994 with cross-country skier Vladimir Smirnov winning a gold and two silver medals.

Ten became just the fourth person to clinch a medal for Kazakhstan at a Winter Games when he took bronze at Sochi 2014.

Before that, he won the 2011 Asian Winter Games title on home ice in Astana.

And he added silver at the 2013 World Championships in London, Ontario, losing out to home favourite Patrick Chan by just 1.3 points.

That made him the first Kazakh to stand on the podium at a World Championships, and he repeated the feat in 2015 when he claimed bronze in Shanghai behind Javier Fernandez.

Before his emergence, figure skating had no imprint in Central Asia.

But Ten brought world champions including Stephane Lambiel and Caroline Kostner to Kazakhstan for his show 'Denis Ten and Friends'.

2013 World Championships podium (L-R): runner-up Denis Ten, winner Patrick Chan, third-placed Javier Fernandez

According to Kazakh site Tengri News, the highlight of his 2014 show - 'Olympic Energy' - was his "ice battle" with 2010 world champion and Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist Daisuke Takahashi.

Ten was proud of his Korean ancestry and, despite a succession of injuries, managed to compete at PyeongChang.

While he was unable to perform his best, failing to make the free skate, he was delighted to skate in front of his fans in Korea.

"I know a large number of people who have followed my success over a long period are on my side here, not only because I’m a figure skater but because, first of all, I’m a Korean.

"I didn’t think I would be able to make it here as an active athlete. It’s a great honour for me to be in Korea. I had been waiting for this competition for a long time."

Skating tributes

Ten's death provoked a mass outpouring of grief in his home country. and the world of figure skating.

He had become close to many competitors thanks to his shows, and PyeongChang 2018 pairs gold medallist Aljona Savchenko told Olympic Channel of her sadness.

Ten, born in Almaty in 1993, moved to Moscow in 2004 to train under former world medallist Elena Vodorezova.

After finishing fourth at the 2009 world juniors, and a number of top-10 finishes in his first senior season, he moved to California to join coach Frank Carroll.

He enjoyed his greatest successes under Carroll, including the 2015 Four Continents title.

One of his training partners was American Olympian Mirai Nagasu.

His rivals and fellow skaters at PyeongChang 2018 also paid tribute.

After his death, acclaimed Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov announced his intention to film a project Ten had conceived.

"We will definitely try to realise his idea, make a film dedication to a multi-talented person."