Ohno grabs 8th career Olympic medal in relay

Apolo Ohno holds up eight fingers to show how many career Olympic medals he has won. / AP photo

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) " Apolo Anton Ohno held up eight fingers, smiled and basked in the cheers from the crowd on the final night of his so-called "home" Olympics.

The 27-year-old short track skater from Seattle " just a few hours away from the games " bounced back from a disqualification in the 500 meters Friday night to anchor the United States to a bronze medal in the 5,000 relay.

Ohno claimed his eighth Olympic medal to extend his own record as the most decorated short track skater and U.S. Winter Olympian.

"Wow!!! 8!!!!!" he tweeted a few hours after leaving Pacific Coliseum. "And to share it with the team makes it even more special! Yesss!! What an epic journey!!"

It was a wild final night at short track, full of disqualifications, spills and suspense " everything that makes the sport akin to roller derby on ice.

The Canadian fans had reason to cheer the home team. Charles Hamelin won the 500 and then helped Canada win gold in the 5,000 relay, erasing the disappointment of losing his first two Olympic races.

China's Wang Meng collected her third gold medal, winning the women's 1,000.

Katherine Reutter picked up her second medal, taking silver in the 1,000 after coming up short in a furious dash to the finish against Wang.

"I feel complete," said Reutter, wearing her latest medal around her neck and an American flag around her shoulders.

In the relay, Ohno teamed with J.R. Celski, Travis Jayner and Jordan Malone to skate fourth among five teams through most of the 45-lap race, then blew past a Chinese skater who went wide off the final turn to get the bronze.

"This is very important for me," Ohno said. "I train with these guys year-round. They pour their heart and soul into this sport as well. That is what I said from the very beginning " I want to be able to share a medal with these guys " and we did. We delivered."

On the podium, a roar went up as Ohno's name was announced and the medal slipped over his slicked-back hair. He held up his bronze in one hand and waved his bouquet in the other.

Things didn't work out for him in the harried 500 final " a 4 1/2-lap sprint around the hockey-sized rink.

Ohno tried to make a move inside Canada's Francois-Louis Tremblay coming off the final turn, but wound up knocking him into the boards and getting himself DQ'd after crossing the finish line in second.

Hamelin slipped by South Korea's Sung Si-bak to win the gold, with Sung taking silver.

Ohno said he didn't deserve to be disqualified, claiming that he put his right hand out merely to protect himself as he surged on Tremblay, looking to make the pass.

"There was no space between the skaters," Ohno said. "I guess the judge saw something I didn't."

Ohno's third Olympics might have been his last. He is contemplating retirement, although U.S. national coach Jimmy Jang is hoping to convince his longtime friend to compete four years from now in Sochi.

"I never say never," Ohno said. "I need a break from this sport that's been very good to me."

Ohno remade himself in the months leading up to the games, slimming down to 142 pounds " 25 less than he weighed at his first Olympics in 2002.

"Apolo is an incredible athlete," Reutter said. "He works harder than anyone I know."

After the relay, Ohno skated over to congratulate the Canadians and shook hands with his South Korean rivals.

One of them, Lee Ho-suk, said: "We have some good memories and we also have some bad memories of Ohno. I will be sorry to see him leave the world of short track when he does."

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