VANCOUVER (Reuters) - In an unpredictable sport short track racer Apolo Anton Ohno has become rather predictable -- by making a habit of cashing in on South Korean misfortune.
Eight years after sparking a diplomatic row following his controversial 1,500 meters Olympic win over South Korean Kim Dong-sung, who was first across the finish line but then disqualified for blocking the American, Ohno was grinning again.
He reminded everyone about the “craziness” of the sport also called “NASCAR on ice” when he snatched the silver medal in the 1,500 meters on Saturday despite lagging in fourth place behind a trio of South Koreans just meters from the finishing line.
“In short track, even if you finish first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, you don’t know until the official result is on the board,” the American told reporters.
“I knew there were going to some disqualifications and that something would happen. The last two laps were pretty intense,” added Ohno who walked into the news conference wearing a black bomber jacket and with his trademark bandana peeping out from under a black woolly hat.
As a three-times Olympian, Ohno never gave up hope of getting on the podium even when it seemed as though South Korea would end up with a clean sweep of the medals.
“I saw the Koreans were skating pretty aggressively through the whole race, so I was expecting some pretty hard contact,” said the 27-year-old Ohno.
“At the end of the race I was hoping for another disqualification kind of like what happened in Salt Lake City.
“When I saw they came in tight (and they crashed) it made it a little bit easier. This is what the sport is all about.”
The spectacular collision, when third-placed Lee Ho-suk slid into his compatriot Sung Si-bak while attempting to overtake him, allowed Ohno to win his sixth Olympic medal but at least South Korea had the consolation of Lee Jung-su’s gold.
Editing by Ed Osmond
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