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US Speedskater Ohno Wins Gold After Apparent Winner is Disqualified - 2002-02-21


American short-track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno has won his first gold medal of the Salt Lake City Games. Ohno captured gold in the men's 1500 meters race when the apparent winner was disqualified.

Apolo Anton Ohno was in fifth place late in Wednesday's race, but with two laps left, the American began to make his move on leader Kim Dong Sung of South Korea.

Ohno made up the gap but at the finish line it appeared that Kim had won the gold just ahead of Ohno. But then the race referee ruled that Kim had used an illegal move to cut off the American. The move is called cross tracking, which is defined as improperly crossing the course of or interfering with the path of another competitor.

The referee disqualified Kim and Ohno was awarded the gold medal. The Korean skater was beginning his celebration by waving a small flag when the announcement was made. He threw the flag on the ice in disgust and disbelief.

Ohno's winning time for the 1500 meters was 2:18.541. After the race, Ohno said he knows the result is controversial, but that is part of sports.

"I think is it something that I have come to accept more than anything. I mean, people are going to ask questions regardless of any outcome," he said. " But deep down for what I believe in and the people who really saw the race that's what really matters."

The silver medal went to China's Li Jiajun. Canada's Marc Gagnon won the bronze medal.

Ohno's win is the first gold medal by an American man in short-track speed skating. He is also the first American man to win multiple Olympic medals in this sport after taking the silver in Saturday's 1000-meters race.

In the women's 3000 meters relay final, South Korea won the gold medal in 4:12.793. China won the silver with Canada taking the bronze.

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