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Talk of the Games

The medal standings tell only part of the sports story of what's happening at the Games. For the rest, check out the latest dispatches from The Seattle Times' sports crew of columnists, reporters and producers.

February 19, 2010 at 5:30 PM

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South Korea really, really, really doesn't like Apolo Ohno

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Can we add one more really to that? Not sure we have enough.

Seriously.

The Associated Press delved deeper into South Korea's longstanding disdain for Ohno in a story from Seoul. Just when you thought the rivalry between our favorite Federal Way free spirit and the South Koreans couldn't get any worse, more nastiness was revealed.

From the story:

Online bulletin boards are plastered with posts cursing the 27-year-old.

One company once sold toilet paper emblazoned with Ohno's face: Ohno joyfully winning the gold, Ohno kissing his medal, Ohno laughing. One video game features an Ohno character you can shoot in the head, and to call something "Ohnolike" is to deride it as a dirty trick.

Ohno's nickname in South Korea? "The king of fouls," the story says.

Why all the hate? Because Ohno, who is half Japanese, has often earned his six Olympic medals at the expense of the South Koreans. And some of those victories have come in controversial fashion. In fact, the South Koreans are blaming him Ohno being "too aggressive" in the 1,500-meter short-track final last week. In that race, Ohno and J.R. Celski, also of Federal Way, earned silver and bronze medals after two South Koreans wiped out just before the finish line. If not for the crash, the South Koreans would've finished 1-2-3.

According to the AP story, gold medalist Lee Jung-Su was upset after the race, declaring, "Ohno didn't deserve to stand on the same medal platform as me. I was so enraged that it was hard for me to contain myself during the victory ceremony."

To his credit, Ohno has largely refrained from engaging in a war of words with his rivals. He even credited the South Koreans after that race on Twitter, writing, "Wow Koreans are always strong." (The rivalry continues Saturday night in the 1,000 meters.)

The high road is always the dignified road.

So this beef is quite one-sided. Ohno toilet paper? The South Koreans really ought to simmer down.

Like really, really, really simmer down.

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