VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Boxed out by the South Koreans, with all hope of a medal appearing lost, Apolo Anton Ohno could only count on the freakishness of short track to pull it out.
When two skaters ahead of him went sliding into the padding, Ohno stuck his skate across the line and Olympic medal No. 6 was his.
The American who made the soul patch fashionable — even the women were wearin’ em — pulled out a silver in the 1,500-meter final when the two South Koreans took each other out on the final turn, allowing Ohno to tie Bonnie Blair for most medals won by a U.S. Winter Olympian.
The Koreans still got the gold, which went to Lee Jung-su. But Ohno had no complaints, especially when he was fourth with just a few meters to go. It didn’t hurt to see 19-year-old American teammate J.R. Celski right behind him for the bronze in his first major event since a crash at the U.S. trials.
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Ohno, who now has two medals of each color, moved past Eric Heiden as the most decorated American male at the Winter Games and also claimed the mark all to himself for most short track medals since the wild-and-wooly sport joined the Olympic program.
Ohno grabbed an American flag, though he had to put it under one arm when he held up his fingers for the crowd — all five on the left hand, and another on the right.
Make it six, and he has three more events to pass Blair at the Vancouver Games.