Ahn didn’t leave without that third gold, leading the South Koreans to a victory in the relay — essentially a two-team race against the Canadians, who took silver.
Trailing a half-lap behind were the Americans and the Italians, staging their own contest for third. Ohno closed it out for the U.S., blowing past Nicola Rodigari and gliding across the line for the fifth Olympic medal of his career.
Ohno got off to a shaky start in Turin, failing to qualify for the final of the 1,500 and settling for bronze in the 1,000. He was in danger of going down as just another high-profile American falling short of expectations in Turin.
Three new medals make him just the fourth U.S. Winter Olympian to win that many in a single games, joining long-track speedskaters Eric Heiden, Sheila Young and Chad Hedrick, who got his third just a day earlier.
Four years ago, Ohno picked up his medals in two wacky races. There was a disputed gold in the 1,500, when a South Korean was disqualified for an illegal block on Ohno — leading to outrage in the short track-mad nation.
Ohno got silver in the 1,000 when the top four skaters wiped out on the final turn and he managed to crawl across the line in second, then went to the medal ceremony in a wheelchair.
Ohno would still be stuck on one gold if not for that ruling in the 500 semifinals.
He appeared to finish third in his race — which wouldn’t have been good enough to advance. But the American moved on when China’s Li Jiajun, a veteran of four Olympics, was disqualified for impeding another skater.
Battling for the lead, Li and Ohno clashed in a turn with two laps to go, nearly sending the American into the padding.
Ohno dropped all the way to last, then made a brilliant move coming off the final turn. He surged past a British skater, Jon Eley, and stuck out his right blade in a desperate attempt to get Li for the second spot.
The replay showed Li getting there first, but it didn’t matter. He was DQ’d for impeding Eley coming off that last curve. Ohno moved up to second, and Eley also advanced.
“I thought I got (Li) at the line anyway,” Ohno said.
Several reporters shook their head.
“I didn’t?” he said with a bit of amazement. “It sure felt like I did.”
Though only 23, Ohno hasn’t decided whether to return for another Olympics.
“I’ve got to figure out what the next part of my journey is going to be,” he said. “I’m just enjoying the moment right now.”
Check out the best images from the 2006 Winter Olympics.