Viktor Ahn of Russia wins 2 short track golds

J.R. Celski, (from left), Jordan Malone, Chris Creveling, and Eddy Alvarez were uplifted with a short-track silver.
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J.R. Celski, (from left), Jordan Malone, Chris Creveling, and Eddy Alvarez were uplifted with a short-track silver.

SOCHI, Russia — Viktor Ahn crowned himself king of short track Friday, winning two golds to tie retired star Apolo Anton Ohno for the most career Olympic medals in the rough-and-tumble skating discipline with eight.

Ahn led Russia to victory in the 5,000-meter relay, taking the lead for good by passing American J.R. Celski with eight laps to go. Earlier, Ahn won the 500.

‘‘He just shows he is the best guy in the world, definitely here,’’ Ohno said. ‘‘He’s got eight medals, six gold. Perhaps the best ever to put short-track speedskates on. Yeah, I would say so.’’


The South Korean-born skater who switched nationalities in 2011 finished the Sochi Games with a medal in all four of his events.

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He applauded as he crossed the finish line.

The mostly Russian crowd waved flags and cheered their adopted red-headed star, chanting his first name repeatedly. Ahn changed his name and became a Russian citizen, after winning his first four Olympic medals skating at the 2006 Turin Games as Ahn Hyun-soo for South Korea.

The relay got off to a typically chaotic start with China and the Netherlands crashing not even halfway through the opening lap. It became a two-nation race between Russia and the US for most of the 45 laps.

Chris Creveling briefly put the US in front with 15 laps left, overtaking Vladimir Grigorev. But Ahn rallied teammates Grigorev, Semen Elistratov, and Ruslan Zakharov to victory.


Eddy Alvarez, Celski, Creveling and Jordan Malone took silver for the first US medal in speedskating at the Sochi Games.

The US speedskaters were shut out in 12 long-track events, and had failed to get on the podium in the first seven short-track races.

The medal helped the Americans avoid a shutout for the first time since 1998 in Nagano.

The Chinese team of Chen Dequan, Han Tianyu, Shi Jingnan and Wu Dajing overcame the early trouble to take bronze.

Earlier, Ahn rallied to win the 500, overtaking Wu on the last lap after Liang Wenhao of China crashed out.


It was the only Olympic race Ahn had never captured, and he became the first skater to win all four individual events at an Olympics in his career.

‘‘It was Ahn’s clinic on how to short track speedskate tonight. He wrote a textbook,’’ Ohno said of Ahn’s 500 race.

Ahn sustained a major knee injury that prevented him from competing four years ago in Vancouver, and soon after he made Russia his adopted country.

Ahn earned bronze in the 1,500, giving Russia its first medal in the sport on the opening day of competition in Sochi. He then won the 1,000.