spotlight on men's short-track 1,500 final

Ohno will face challenge from fellow American Celski in 1,500 meters

With his seventh Olympic medal -- in short-track 1,000-meter speed skating Saturday -- Apolo Anton Ohno surpasses Bonnie Blair to become the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Apolo Anton Ohno will be looking for gold in an event that has brought him a mix of success, controversy, stumbles and, perhaps, gray hair, at the Olympic Games.

"I'm an old man at 27," Ohno said recently. "Sometimes I feel like that."

This year he could face a different challenge: a young American rival.

At last year's world championships in Vienna, a pair of South Koreans took gold and silver in the 1,500 meters, and up-and-coming U.S. star J.R. Celski, 19, claimed bronze -- one of four individual medals he won at the championships. Ohno finished fourth.

Celski also topped Ohno in the first of two 1,500 races at the Olympic trials in September. But Celski will be coming back from surgery after a skate blade sliced his thigh at the end of the trials.

In the crazy world of short track, it's difficult to pick a favorite, let alone a sure bet. But with Ohno, things are almost always interesting.

At the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Ohno crossed the finish line behind South Korean Kim Dong-Sung, but Ohno got the 1,500 gold after Kim was disqualified for interfering with Ohno.

The outraged South Korean delegation threatened to boycott the Closing Ceremonies on behalf of Kim.

Four years later at the Turin Olympic Games, Ohno lost his footing during a semifinal heat and finished last. He earned a bronze in the 1,000 and 5,000 relay and gold in the 500 in those Games.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company