APOLO OHNO was
stuck in traffic and couldn't get home. Trapped behind South Korean skaters Ahn
Hyun Soo and Lee Ho Suk on the final turn of the 1,000-meter final last
Saturday night, the American short-track star could find no way through. After
crossing the finish line in third place, Ohno threw his hands up in
exasperation. "I was looking for a space to pass, but there was none,"
he said. "It's a tough position to be in."
Clashing with Ahn
has become all too familiar for Ohno; since the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics
the two have raced 68 times. On Saturday the bleach-blond Ahn, 20, also took on
Ohno, 23, in the two heats leading up to the finals and won them both.
"Today I beat Ohno three times," Ahn said. "I feel confident. I
want to get more medals. I'm ready."
victory, in an Olympic-record 1:26.739, gave him his second gold of the Turin
Games; he and Lee also went one-two in the 1,500 on Feb. 12. With podium
finishes in the 500 meters and the 5,000-meter relay this Saturday, the Seoul
native would become the first short-track skater to collect four medals in a
single Games. After his win in the 1,500, a race in which Ohno failed to reach
the finals, Ahn told Korean journalists he was surprised the gold had come so
easily. Said South Korean coach Park Se Woo, "Ohno is still the same as he
was in 2002. Hyun Soo has upgraded with more size, more power and
A junior at Korea
National Sports University in Seoul, Ahn is the three-time defending all-around
world champion. When not in competition he trains eight hours daily, with two
skating sessions, plus weightlifting, jumping, sprints and video analysis.
South Korea dominated the first four short-track events in Turin, winning three
golds and three silvers, but it was Ahn's defeat of Ohno last Saturday night
that was vindication for the controversial disqualification of Kim Dong Sung in
the 2002 Olympic 1,500--a race in which Ohno was declared the winner.
people are relieved now that Ahn Hyun Soo has won over Apolo Anton Ohno,"
said Kim Jung Kil, the president of the Korean Olympic Committee. "Now we
know which country is superior."