Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seventh Heaven: Ohno snags bronze to become most decorated American winter Olympian of all time

Lee Jung-su grabbed another gold, this time in the men's 1000-meter short-track speedskating, while Lee Hosuk may have redeemed himself by getting the silver. CNN has the story here.

I haven't seen the race yet, so I wonder if bronze medalist Apolo Ohno skated around with the American flag, whooping and hollering about his third-place showing that earned him the title of most-decorated American winter Olympian (he's only seventh winter Olympian overall). Maybe Celski was conducting an interview he could interrupt.

Anyway, regardless of where he placed, Ohno's record is nothing to scoff at. He may be a smug sombitch, but he's an impressive skater, and his recognition was hard-earned.

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12 comments:

  1. He did have the flag.

    As I stated on my post, I wonder if there will be some complaining after this one. In the race the Canadian gave him a push on the butt and knocked him off balance during a turn. I don't know how much contact is legal, but that was a little alarming. But, the announcers didn't say anything, Ohno didn't gesture or throw his hands up, and in the post-race interview he didn't say anything about it.

    Before the race on NBC they ran a 20-second clip of him talking about the upcoming race, saying he expects a good one and that the Koreans will likely work together. It's illegal, he says, but officials have a hard time spotting it.

    But, well, except for that gaffe last week, it's been a good Olympics for Korean skaters. I wonder if any of their enthusiasm for short-track and figure skating will translate into more interest in hockey. The professional league here doesn't seem to attract much attention, and they don't do anything in international competition. Then again, as numerous people have said, Koreans aren't interested in sports so much as they're interested in winning and cheering for Koreans. The lack of interest in the domestic soccer league is evidence of that.

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  2. I asked this in several places but don't know if anyone answered: Is carrying around the flag, by tradition, the thing that only the gold medal winner does? If yes, then what Ohno did was in bad form, and he probably should know better, this time and last. But if not, then more power to him celebrating his achievement.

    Before the race on NBC they ran a 20-second clip of him talking about the upcoming race, saying he expects a good one and that the Koreans will likely work together. It's illegal, he says, but officials have a hard time spotting it.

    That sounds a bit like proactive excuse-making. I think the Lee Hosuk fiasco taught us that the Korean skaters are out for individual achievement more than anything else. I've seen enough pictures of other skaters "boxing in" Ohno that I was going to make a joke headline that the South Korean skaters are starting to disguise themselves as Chinese, Ukrainian, and Canadian.

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  3. I thought his comments in that pre-race clip would be well-received by people convinced he's always thinking about other people cheating.

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  4. Another thing that gets me is that Ohno AND the US media keep talking about the "mistake" or that one slip he made that cost him the race. He said in the post-race interview that he could have taken the race if it wasn't for that ONE mistake (which looked like it was caused by the Canadian, as Brian pointed out). Please~~! Can we start giving credit to the Koreans and just admit that Ohno is not good enough to beat them?! How many medals do the Koreans (either one of the three guys) have to win or how many times do they have to beat him to prove he is now out of their league? In his mind, and in the mind of the media, it seems, they think he is still a gold medal contender.

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  5. Kushibo, I don't think it's in bad taste for the bronze medal winner to carry their flag. In the summer games, I have seen many silver and bronze winners do the same (especially Americans). It probably just appeared like grandstanding because that's all the media shows. Asian gold medalists don't seem to get much attention in the US media for some reason.

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  6. LastnameKim wrote:
    In his mind, and in the mind of the media, it seems, they think he is still a gold medal contender.

    Well, considering this is his third winter Olympics, he's doing quite well. And his sport is a game of inches, so I would still say he's world-class.

    As for the US media focus on Ohno as a golden boy, I think they're being not all that different from how the Korean media talks up local talent at the Olympics. Maybe slightly different in how, but not so different in the end result.

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  7. LastnameKim wrote:
    Kushibo, I don't think it's in bad taste for the bronze medal winner to carry their flag.

    I'll have to watch some other event and see how it goes.

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  8. Well, I never said Ohno wasn't world class. Who could deny him that in the short track? He's already a legend in that sport. I'm just saying, he's far from being the best right now. He hasn't come close to first in any of these current Olympic finals so far. I'm just saying that they keep repeating the "one mistake" that cost him the gold. I just saw the NBC news now and they said the same thing about his mistake. Even if he didn't slip, I don't think that he could have passed either of the two Koreans.

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  9. To be completey fair, when Mo Tae-beom won the silver medal he did skate around with the Korean flag on his shoulders "whooping it up." I'm guessing its common for anyone who wins a medal to get the victory lap.

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  10. Thanks, Matt.

    Assuming it wasn't so retaliation by Mo for Ohno having done it earlier, I'll assume this is "acceptable practice."

    If it isn't, then we have Mo acting in bad form as well.

    It's entirely possible that short track skaters are all just a bad lot. ;)

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  11. By the way, it's not entirely clear because of the way I wrote it, but the whooping and hollering comment was a reference to Ohno's behavior when his teammate, J.R. Celski, was being interviewed on live television.

    Ohno's interview was over and it was finally brozen medalist Celski's time to shine, and Ohno interrupted it by screaming into the camera.

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  12. Congratulations to Ohno on all of those medals! What an amazing accomplishment!

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