VANCOUVER, British Columbia — At the end, and this indeed may be the very end, Apolo Anton Ohno circled the Pacific Coliseum ice with a smile on his face, tears welling in his eyes and an unprecedented eighth Winter Olympics medal secured.
It just took a few minutes longer than expected. He'd had No. 8 in hand after the men's 500-meter race earlier Friday evening, but he'd also had that hand on the hip of a competitor on the last turn of that race. That got him disqualified, leaving only the chaotic 5,000-meter relay to add to his stack of hardware.
So Ohno anchored the U.S. team in that race and drove it to a bronze medal, likely capping his decorated Olympic career with a third medal of these Winter Games, even if he wasn't entirely happy with how it occurred.
"I kept waiting and waiting and on the last corner, I ran up on the Canadian guy," Ohno said of the 500-meter race. "I put my hand up so I wouldn't run into him. There was just no space to move up.
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"You know, it's the head Canadian referee out there and there were two Canadians in the race."
Meanwhile, Katherine Reutter avoided problems altogether. She navigated a jam-packed field in the women's 1,000 meters Friday to earn a silver medal, the first individual medal for a U.S. woman in short-track since 1994 and the one that clinched a record Winter Games haul of at least 36 for the U.S. overall, with men's hockey and speedskating team pursuit still guaranteed to be either gold or silver in each.
Reutter screamed through victory laps, before she took a moment and thought she should have mercy on her vocal cords. Then she kept screaming. She appeared afterward wrapped in an American flag that looked like the most patriotic shawl ever, sounding like a pickup truck commercial in extolling her love for, well, everything.
"I love everybody so much, and I love everyone in the stands tonight, and I love my flag, I love my country," Reutter said.
"I couldn't stop screaming."
That makes it two medals in three nights for Reutter, too, after a bronze in the 3,000-meter relay Wednesday.
"Shani Davis told one of my teammates to be careful when you're wearing two medals, that they'll clink together and scratch each other," Reutter said. "I can't think of a better problem to have."
Ohno had problems, for sure, narrowly avoiding two crashes in the quarterfinals and semifinals just to reach the 500-meter final. He was trailing in the last turn when his right hand clearly reached out and touched Canada's Francois-Louis Tremblay, sending Tremblay and South Korea's Si-Bak Sung spinning.
Ohno avoided the carnage again and crossed the line second, but that apparent silver medal vanished after judges reviewed the race.
Reutter cruised through to her final, in which she zipped up to the second position with three laps remaining. On the final lap she fended off a late surge from South Korea's Seung-Hi Park and firmed up her celebration plans.
She had cut down to 13 percent body fat for the Olympics, and she had a reward of the non-shimmering variety in mind Friday.
"I've said for a long time that I'll be walking into the Closing Ceremony with an 18-scoop ice cream cone," Reutter said. "If anyone in the world can make an 18-scoop ice cream cone, call me. I'll eat it."