VANCOUVER (AFP) -- U.S. short track skater Apolo Ohno has been portrayed as unworthy of a medal in a worrying echo of the bitter resentment which erupted between America and South Korea at the controversial 2002 Olympics.
Ohno finished runner-up to Lee Jung-Su after two other leading Koreans, Sung Si-Bak and Lee Ho-Suk , collided and crashed into the boards around the final turn in the men's 1500m final on Saturday at the Vancouver Olympics.
The silver was the sixth Olympic medal for Ohno who surpassed several retired competitors who have five each. He also tied long-track speed skater Bonnie Blair's all-time U.S. record of Winter Olympic medals.
But Korean media slammed Ohno's post-race comments that Korean skaters deserved to be disqualified in a fresh flare-up of the antipathy which surrounded him after he won the same event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
In the U.S. city, South Korean star Kim Dong-Sung finished first in the 1500m final but was disqualified for blocking Ohno around the final turn.
"I was hoping there was going to be another disqualification like in Salt Lake City," Ohno told reporters.
"The whole race there was a lot of contact, bumping, grabbing. It was a crazy race," added 27-year-old Ohno, who also won the 500m gold in Torino four years ago. "Typically in short track, there's not supposed to have any contact, or very little contact."
But Lee Jung-Su told Korean media it was Ohno that was "swinging his arms violently" in the semifinals and final without showing it to the referees.
"He did not deserve to stand on the podium," Lee said.
Ohno was seen pushing Lee in the semifinal in a video clip which was repeatedly played on Korean television, according to a member of the South Korean delegation in Vancouver.
"Now the bad feeling toward him seems to be coming back," the official said.
Ohno was seen throwing up his arms behind Kim in the Salt Lake City final as if he was blocked, a gesture widely mocked by Korean media as "Hollywood action" at that time.
Afterwards, Kim's fans sent 16,000 angry e-mails, which crashed the International Olympic Committee's website.
Ohno skipped a 2003 World Cup event in South Korea for security fears. In 2005, he finally went there and won races before an unexpectedly friendly crowd.
Lee Jung-Su has now set his sights on a medal sweep with the 1000m heats starting on Wednesday.
The 1000m and 500m finals are to be held on Feb. 20 and 26.
"We are trying to go for all the medals again this time," Lee told reporters on Tuesday. "Because of the mistake we made during the last race we are being careful."
OK this is utter b/s. During every Olympics I have ever seen the Korean team always blocks for each other, it's illegal and yet they know they won't get called because it's almost impossible to prove.
I'm cheering for Apollo because well he has great hair and that soul patch really does it for me.