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2010 Winter Olympics: Korean DQ gives China relay gold

Apolo Anton Ohno, left, makes a move around Canada's Olivier Jean, during men's 500 short-track qualifying.
Apolo Anton Ohno, left, makes a move around Canada's Olivier Jean, during men's 500 short-track qualifying.
Mark Baker, Associated Press

VANCOUVER — China won the women's 3,000-meter relay short track speedskating final Wednesday night after four-time defending champion South Korea was disqualified for impeding at the Olympics.

The South Koreans crossed the finish line first, but after a discussion by referees, they were disqualified for clicking skates with China just after an exchange with five laps to go.

China's team of Sun Linlin, Wang Meng, Zhang Hui and Zhou Yang leaped for joy when they were declared Olympic champions — the first time in the event. The Chinese are ranked No. 1 in the world and set the relay world record in October 2008.

The Canadian team of Jessica Gregg, Kalyna Roberge, Marianne St-Gelais and Tania Vicent won the silver, and the United States took the bronze in the four-team final. It was the Americans' first medal in the event since 1994, when they also won bronze.

It was the second gold each for Wang and Zhou. Wang won the 500, and Zhou won the 1,500. St-Gelais earned another silver to go with the one she earned in the 500.

The American team of Allison Baver, Alyson Dudek, Lana Gehring and Katherine Reutter fell back to last place early in the 27-lap race and never moved up, but the DQ allowed them onto the medal podium.

"There's the victory and the glory," Reutter said. "This may not have been the most glorious, but we were victorious."

Earlier at Pacific Coliseum, Apolo Anton Ohno advanced through the 500 heats, setting up the American for his last shot at an individual gold medal.

South Koreans Cho Ha-ri, Kim Min-jung, Lee Eun-byul and Park Seung-hi had their country's flags in hand and were ready to celebrate. Within minutes, though, it all changed. The DQ was announced and they slowly lowered their flags to the ice. Cho put her head down and used her left arm to cover her eyes.

None competed on South Korea's winning team four years ago in Torino.

A victory would have allowed South Korea to break a tie with Germany for most consecutive wins in a specific women's event at the Winter Games. South Korea had won the 3,000 relay in every Olympics since 1994. Germany won the women's 5,000-meter long-track speedskating and the women's luge singles in four consecutive Olympics.

South Korea's Kim was in the lead when her left skate blade clicked with the right blade of China's Sun. From there, South Korea's Park pulled away to a big lead before teammate Cho finished off what they thought was a record fifth gold medal.

Instead, the title went to the Chinese, who smiled and waved, each one holding a corner of their country's flag. Zhang later appeared on the podium with a bandage on her chin. She needed treatment when blood gushed from her face, which apparently was cut during the team's celebration.

In the men's 500, Ohno won his 41/2-lap heat, finishing just in front of Canadian Olivier Jean. Ohno will return Friday and must advance through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds to skate for a medal in the 500, where he is the defending Olympic champion.

Ohno believes he's a faster skater than he was four years ago in Torino.

"I'm going to need more (speed) if I'm going to make the final," he said.

Ohno was going for the victory because a skater's placement determines their starting position in the next round.

"It's very important to do well each time. Even though some of the other guys are way out in front, they keep going hard because they want to make sure they have a good seeding time," he said. "Say you have the fastest time of the day, the next round you have inside lane position, which is a big, big advantage."

Also on the final night of short track competition, Ohno will lead the U.S. men in the 5,000 relay final against powerful South Korea, China, Canada and France.

SPEEDSKATING: Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic captured her second gold medal in Vancouver, adding the 5,000 meters to the 3,000 title she's already won.

"If there was another 100 meters I would not have made it," Sablikova said through a translator.

Stephanie Beckert of Germany got silver, and 37-year-old, defending Olympic champion Clara Hughes of Canada thrilled the crowd by taking bronze.

"This crowd gave me wings," said Hughes, who also won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. "It was one of the best races of my life. Now, I am officially retired."

Jilleanne Rookard was the top American, finishing eighth.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Marcus Hellner was so far ahead at the end of his anchor leg that he had time to collect a Swedish flag to wave as he skied to the finish of the team relay, earning his second gold medal of these Olympics and Sweden's first in this event since 1988.

Norway got silver, and the Czech Republic took bronze.

The Americans were 13th.

ATHLETES COMMISSION: Angela Ruggiero is at her fourth Olympics as a hockey player. She'll be around the games for the next eight years as a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Ruggiero and British skeleton racer Adam Pengilly were voted onto the IOC and its athletes' commission in an election of their fellow athletes. Voting took nearly three weeks, with seven others vying for the job.

The U.S. now has three members on the 114-member IOC.

MEN'S CURLING: The reigning world champion British men aren't going to get a medal. They're headed home, eliminated by a Swedish team that will next face top-seeded and unbeaten Canada.