Apolo Anton Ohno became the most decorated Winter Olympian in US history on Friday when he took bronze in the men’s short track 1,000-meter final at Pacific Coliseum.
The medal was the seventh of Ohno's Olympic career, moving him ahead of six-time medalist Bonnie Blair and giving him the most Olympic podiums by any short track speed skater of any nation.
The third-place finish ties him for 15th on the career Winter Olympic medals list, and it makes him just the sixth short track speed skater to win silverware at three Winter Games. No other male Olympian from any country has won more medals than Ohno.
Ohno lost his balance with two laps to go, falling from second to fifth, but he made a fantastic last-gasp move to get past the Canadian Hamelin brothers (Charles and Francois) to make history.
The gold and silver medals were claimed by Korea, with Jung-Su Lee winning in an Olympic record time of 1:23.747 and teammate Ho-Suk Lee second with a 1:23.801. Ohno hit the line at 1:24.128.
Ohno can add the bronze medal to the silver he won in Salt Lake City in 2002 and the bronze from Torino four years ago. He says he has no regrets with finishing third, but you could tell by the frustration in his voice that he rues slipping and losing speed on the passing move. If only he could do it all over again.
But the medal opportunity was really set up by his semifinal race. Third entering the last lap, Ohno deliberately ran wide on the two penultimate turns, giving him the perfect angle to cut inside the front pair and book his place in the final.
Taking nothing away from Ohno's fantastic achievements, I still don't think his achievements move him above either Bonnie Blair or Eric Heiden, but that is for another day.
For now, it's all about Ohno and his record-breaking performance.
To read my thoughts on where I rank Ohno in US history, click here.
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