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Apolo Anton Ohno adds to medal haul

WINTER OLYMPICS

After being disqualified in men's 500-meter final, he wins bronze as part of the 5,000-meter relay team.

February 27, 2010|By Brian Hamilton

Reporting from Vancouver, Canada — At the end, and this may be the very end, Apolo Anton Ohno circled the Pacific Coliseum ice with a smile, tears welling and an unprecedented eighth Winter Olympics medal secured.

It just took a few minutes longer than expected. He had No. 8 in hand after the men's 500-meter race earlier Friday, but he also had that hand on the hip of a competitor on the last turn of that race. That got him disqualified, leaving only the chaotic 5,000-meter relay in which he could add to the stack of hardware he had accrued.

So Ohno anchored the U.S. in that race and led it to a bronze medal, probably capping his stellar Olympic career with a third medal of these Winter Games, even if he was not entirely happy with how it occurred.

"I kept waiting and waiting and on the last corner, I ran up on the Canadian guy," Ohno said of the 500-meter race. "I put my hand up so I wouldn't run into him. There was just no space to move up.

"You know, it's the head Canadian referee out there and there were two Canadians in the race."

Meanwhile, Katherine Reutter avoided problems altogether. She navigated a jam-packed field in the women's 1,000 meters Friday and earned a silver medal, the first individual medal for a U.S. woman in short-track since 1994 and the one that, barring something unforeseen, clinched a record Winter Games haul of at least 35 medals for the U.S. overall.

The Champaign, Ill., native screamed during her victory laps before she took a moment and thought that she should have mercy on her vocal cords. Then she kept screaming. She appeared afterward wrapped in an American flag that looked like the most patriotic shawl ever, sounding like a pickup truck commercial in extolling her love for, well, everything.

"I love everybody so much, and I love everyone in the stands tonight, and I love my flag, I love my country," Reutter said. "I couldn't stop screaming."

That makes it two medals in three nights for Reutter too, after she won a bronze in the 3,000-meter relay Wednesday.

" Shani Davis told one of my teammates to be careful when you're wearing two medals, that they'll clink together and scratch each other," Reutter said. "I can't think of a better problem to have."

Ohno had problems, for sure, narrowly avoiding two crashes in the quarterfinals and semifinals just to reach the 500-meter final. He was trailing in the last turn when his right hand clearly reached out and touched Canada's Francois-Louis Tremblay, sending Tremblay and Korea's Sung Si-Bak spinning.

Ohno avoided the carnage again and crossed the line in second place, but that silver medal soon vanished when the judges reviewed the race footage.

Reutter cruised through to the final, in which she zipped up to the second position with three laps remaining. On the final lap she fended off a late surge from Korea's Park Seung-Hi and firmed up her celebration plans.

She had cut down to 13% body fat for the Olympics, and she had a reward of the nonshimmering variety in mind Friday.

"I've said for a long time that I'll be walking into the closing ceremony with an 18-scoop ice cream cone," Reutter said. "If anyone in the world can make an 18-scoop ice cream cone, call me. I'll eat it."

bchamilton@tribune.com

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