South Korea go home thinking "Oh no"

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By Sonia Oxley

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Clumsiness, bad luck and Apolo Anton Ohno scuppered South Korea's usual short track domination at the Vancouver Olympics, allowing China to take their place and dream of a 2014 clean sweep.

When Lee Ho-suk knocked over his team mate Sung Si-bak metres before the finish line in the final of the 1,500 meters two weeks ago to cost them both a medal, it was just the start of the mishaps for the discipline's most decorated country. The misery continued when the women's relay team were disqualified for impeding. They were already waving flags and on a victory lap when the result flashed up that the gold was China's instead.

An Ohno connection with the two incidents made things worse for South Korea, where a company once printed toilet paper featuring the American's face after a controversial race.

Ohno took the 1,500 silver because of the crash and the South Koreans pointed out that the referee who had disqualified the relay team was the same one who had handed Ohno an Olympic gold in 2002 by disqualifying Kim Dong-sung.

"We have some good and some bad memories of Ohno. I will be sad to see him leave the world of short track when he does," Sung told reporters when asked about the American who is one of the few consistent skaters in an unpredictable sport.

The 27-year-old Ohno, who won a silver and two bronzes in Vancouver and became his country's most decorated winter Olympian with eight medals, has not decided whether he will retire yet but said he would be taking "a long break."

Canada delighted their home fans by securing the other two men's golds with Charles Hamelin taking two in 30 minutes with victory in the 500 before steering his relay team to victory.

In the women's events China crushed the South Koreans at every opportunity, taking the relay as well as individual golds for Wang Meng in the 500 and 1,000 and Zhou Yang in the 1,500.

"I guess one goal would be for the men to achieve the same level of success as the ladies' team."

"There's a saying in Chinese that you get what you put in," she said. "The last four years we have trained very hard and now we get to reap the rewards."

(Editing by Miles Evans)