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2010 Winter Olympics: Ohno ties USA record with 6th Olympic medal

WHISTLER, British Columbia — Apolo Anton Ohno tied Bonnie Blair for the most medals won by an American athlete in Winter Olympics competitions with a silver medal in the men's short track 1,500 meter race Saturday night.

He pulled into second place when two Korean skaters fell in the last turn. He earned a time of 2:17.976, just behind Korea's gold medalist Lee Jung-Su, who crossed the line in 2:17.611

U.S. skater J.R. Celski earned a bronze medal in the race. Celski came back from a horrific injury in October and has been likened to Ohno for his style and promise.

The silver medal was Ohno's sixth career medal, and he surpasses Eric Heiden for the most winter medals won by an American man. He owns two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

ALPINE SKIING: Volunteers are working feverishly to fix what the warm weather and rain have done to the alpine course at Creekside Whistler.

"They've got a huge crew of unbelievable volunteers working 24 hours a day, every single one of them enjoying the process of trying to put on the best Games possible," said U.S. head men's alpine coach Sasha Rearick.

He said the weather had provided some "adversity" to both skiers and course workers, but everyone was optimistic and eager to get competition under way today.

One of the difficulties is that they're dealing with three different climate issues. The top of the hill was getting heavy snow, the middle section of the course was being pounded with a mixture of rain and snow and the bottom was being saturated by near-constant rain.

"We've been staying off the bottom of the hill because it's slush right now," said Rearick. Instead of training Saturday, skiers enjoyed a rare day off.

The women's team was scheduled for training today at 11 a.m., while the men were scheduled for downhill competition Monday at 10:30 a.m.

The women's downhill medal event was scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. and the Super Combined was scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. with the finals at 1 p.m.

MEN'S LUGE: Tony Benshoof is currently in seventh place after two complete rounds of Luge competition. Germany's Felix Loch and David Moeller, are first and second respectively. Defending World Champion Armin Zoeggeler is fourth. Benshoof's U.S. teammate Chris Mazdzer is in 13th place with two runs to go on Sunday night at the Whistler Olympic Park.

WOMEN'S SPEEDSKATING: Both U.S. women advanced to the semi-finals of the women's 500 meters at Pacific Coliseum Saturday.

U.S. entrants have advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's 500 meter event in short Katherine Reutter (Champaign, Ill.) won the first qualifying heat with a time of 44.187 seconds, while Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, Wis.) was second in her heat with a 44.560. The top two in each heat advance to the finals, which will be held at 6:10 p.m. PST on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The U.S. women's team has advanced to the final of the 3,000 meter relay event in short track speedskating at the Richmond Coliseum Saturday evening. The quartet of Kimberly Derrick (Memphis, Tenn.), Alyson Dudek (Hales Corners, Wis.), Lana Gehring (Glenview, Ill.) and Katherine Reutter (Champaign, Ill.) finished second in their semifinal with a time of 4:15.376. They will race in the finals on Wednesday, Feb. 24, against the teams from Korea, China and Canada.

MEN'S SPEEDSKATING: Dutch speedskater Sven Kramer won the gold medal in the men's 5,000 meters in a games record at the Olympic Oval on Saturday, finally claiming the one major title that had eluded him.

The 23-year-old pre-race favorite won in 6 minutes, 14.60, shaving six hundredths of a second off Jochem Uytdehaage's Olympic record set at altitude in Salt Lake City in 2002. Lee Seung-Hoon of South Korea was second in 6:16.95. Ivan Skobrev of Russia was third in 6:18.05.

Only two years after switching from short track, Lee was the shock of the day with his silver.

After winning world and European titles, Kramer finally got the gold he had been waiting for since he finished with silver and bronze in Turin four years ago. There to see it were Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Crown Prince Willem Alexander.

With the 10,000 and the team pursuit to come, Kramer is now a hot favorite to leave Vancouver with three gold medals.

SKI JUMPING: If Simon Ammann's name doesn't ring a bell, maybe this will: He's the Swiss ski jumper who looked a lot like Harry Potter back at the 2002 Olympics, when he won two gold.

Now 28 — and no longer a double for the boy wizard — Ammann's victory was decisive, as he posted the longest jumps in both rounds. It was an impressive rebound from '06, when he failed to advance to the final round.

"I'm back at the top of the world," said Ammann, who became the first two-time champion on the normal hill and matched Finnish great Matti Nykanen's record of three individual golds.

With Vice President Joe Biden watching, none of the three U.S. ski jumpers made it to the final round. Peter Frenette and Nick Alexander tied for 41st, while Anders Johnson was 49th.

Contributing: Associated Press

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com