- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 17, 2002

SALT LAKE CITY Apolo Anton Ohno lost what surely would have been a short-track gold medal in the men's 1,000 meters when a last-lap crash sent him and three other skaters crashing into the boards.
Refusing to give up, Ohno managed to stagger and slide across the finish line skate-first for the silver last night.
After landing on his back and spinning to the side of the track, a deep gash in his leg, Ohno got to his feet and covered the final few yards just after the last-place Steven Bradbury coasted across the line as the lucky winner.
Bradbury claimed Australia's first Winter Olympics gold medal ever.
"Obviously, I'm not the best guy in the field but I won the race, so I'm going to take it," Bradbury said.
The sellout crowd of more than 15,000 booed loudly when the result was posted. One skater, China's Li Jiajun, was disqualified but officials allowed the other results to stand.
Canada's Mathieu Turcotte got up in time to claim the bronze.
Ohno made an outside pass for the lead with two laps to go and was still in front heading to the final turn, the crowd made it difficult to hear, likely sensing a chance to witness the 19-year-old from Seattle win the first of four Olympic medals.
That's when everything fell apart.
Li tried to pass on the outside, jostling with Ohno as both skaters fought for position. Li slipped out of the race about the same time Ahn Hyun-soo moved inside of Ohno.
It was a brazen move by the 16-year-old South Korean, considering there was hardly any room to pass. Not surprisingly, it sent bodies flying in all directions.
Ahn went down and took out Ohno and Turcotte. The American did a 360-degree spin and crashed into the boards back first.
Bradbury, who was far behind the other four skaters in the final, simply glided across the line. He threw up his arms and smiled in disbelief.
Even after the gold medal was draped around his neck, Bradbury was still shaking his head.
Ohno, meanwhile, had the presence of mind to pull himself up and throw his left skate across the finish line, a gutsy move that gave him the silver.
Turcotte also had to get up in order to claim a medal.
Ohno's leg was cut in the melee and he had to be brought to the edge of the ice in a wheelchair for the medal ceremony. He hobbled to the podium, struggling to pull himself up to the second-place position.
It wasn't immediately clear if he would be able to take part in his other three Olympic races. He would be among the favorites in all three.
In the night's other final, Yang Yang won China's first Winter Olympic gold medal in the women's 500. Evgenia Radanova of Bulgaria took the silver and Wang Chunlu of Chino claimed the bronze.
Yang and Wang carried a Chinese flag around the rink and broke down in tears as they hugged their coach.
Caroline Hallisey, of Natick, Mass., made it into 500 final with a couple of thrilling comebacks and a photo finish. But she finished last out of five skaters in the medal race.
Meanwhile, the Olympic career of Amy Peterson came to an end.
Peterson, a five-time Olympian who won a silver at the 1992 Albertville Games and two bronzes at Lillehammer in '94, was part of the American 3,000 relay team that fell in the semifinals and finished far back.
She made it through the heats of 500 but finished a distant third in the quarterfinals, crossing the line with her hands on her knees.
Still, it was a memorable games for the 30-year-old Peterson, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome. She carried the American flag in the opening ceremony.
On this night, everyone came to see Ohno, who won his quarterfinal and semifinal races.
His most brilliant move came in the quarter, when the teen-ager nicknamed "Chunky" somehow squeezed between Bradbury and Marc Gagnon of Canada.
Ohno pulled away from the other three skaters, looking back derisively over his shoulder as he crossed the finish line all alone.
Someone held up a sign, "Go Chunky! Apolo is Phat."
In the semifinals, Ohno settled into second place behind South Korea's Ahn before making his push with two laps to go. Darting to the inside with apparent ease, he slid past Ahn and held the lead the rest of the way, subtly pumping his right fist as he finished.
Hallisey had to bounce back from last place just to survive her opening heat. In the quarters, she pulled off an Ohno-like move of her own, darting past Italy's Marta Capurso with a lap to go. Finally, Hallisey toed the line even with Canada's Isabelle Charest for second place, putting both of them into the final.
The other American in the 1,000, Rusty Smith, finished third in his quarterfinal race and was eliminated.
"With 1 laps to go, I knew I wouldn't get that second spot," Smith said. "When someone passes you on the outside, they just have more strength. It was a tough race."
Ohno didn't have to face the defending Olympic and World Cup champion in the final. Kim Dong-sung of South Korea fell on the final lap and was eliminated.
In the women's relay, Hallisey fell on the opening lap and Erin Porter went down late in the race, leaving the Americans far behind.
"I don't know if someone clicked her [skate] or if the skate just gave away, but it happened in the first lap so we kind of really didn't even get a chance to race," Porter said. "That happens in short track."

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