At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, short-track speedskater Apolo Ohno weaved his way into the United States’ record books as he became the most-decorated American Winter Olympian of all time.
In the 1,000-meter final in Vancouver, Ohno slipped early but rallied to come back and earn a bronze medal, breaking Bonnie Blair’s record with his seventh career Olympic medal.
Blair, also a speedskater, won six medals from 1988-1994.
Ohno had tied Blair’s mark days earlier with a silver medal in the 1500-meter final.
“It feels amazing,” Ohno said. “I never came into this Olympic Games thinking about breaking medals (totals) or tying any records. Our sport is crazy. To win one medal is a huge accomplishment for any athlete.”
Blair was in attendance and expressed her excitement for Ohno’s accomplishment. “I’m very happy for Apolo’s accomplishment It’s a great feat for him,” Blair said.
Ohno would add one more medal to his haul when he anchored the American team in the 5000-meter relay, where they won bronze. That was his eighth (and final) career Olympic medal.
“It’s been about the experience,” Ohno said of his three Olympics. “I’ve been lucky enough to win medals, and it feels good.”
Ohno burst into the national spotlight at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, winning a gold medal in the 1500 and silver in the 1000. His victory in the 1500 was notable as he finished second, but top finisher Kim Dong-Sung was disqualified for impeding Ohno.
At the 2006 Games in Torino, Ohno earned three more medals – a gold in the 500, a bronze in the 1000 and a bronze in the 5000 m relay.