U.S. team wins silver in 5,000 relay, ending medal drought for American speedskaters

From right, Eduardo Alvarez of the United States, Chris Creveling of the United States, Jordan Malone of the United States and J.R. Celski of the United States celebrate their second place finish in the men's 5000m short track speedskating relay final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Bernat Armangue, AP

SOCHI, Russia -- Viktor Ahn crowned himself king of short track Friday night, winning two golds to tie retired star Apolo Anton Ohno for the most career Olympic medals with eight.

Ahn led Russia to victory in the 5,000-meter relay, taking the lead for good by passing American J.R. Celski with eight laps to go. Earlier in the evening, Ahn won the 500.

 The South Korean-born skater who switched nationalities in 2011 finished the Sochi Games with a medal in all four of his events.

He applauded as he crossed the finish line.

The mostly Russian crowd waved flags and cheered their adopted red-headed star, chanting his first name repeatedly. Ahn changed his name and became a Russian citizen, after winning his first four Olympic medals skating at the 2006 Turin Games as Ahn Hyun-soo for South Korea.

The relay got off to a typically chaotic start with China and the Netherlands crashing not even halfway through the opening lap. It became a two-nation race between Russia and the U.S. for most of the 45 laps.

Chris Creveling briefly put the U.S. in front with 15 laps left, overtaking Vladimir Grigorev. But Ahn rallied  teammates Grigorev, Semen Elistratov and Ruslan Zakharov to victory.

Eddy Alvarez, Celski, Creveling and Jordan Malone took silver for the first U.S. medal in speedskating at the Sochi Games. The U.S. speedskaters were shut out in 12 long track events, and had failed to get on the podium in the first seven short track races.

The medal helped the Americans avoid a shutout for the first time since 1998 in Nagano. U.S. speedskaters, including favorite Shani Davis, didn't medal, and some blamed the new high-tech suit worn by the team.

The Chinese team of Chen Dequan, Han Tianyu, Shi Jingnan and Wu Dajing overcame the early trouble to take bronze.

Earlier, Ahn rallied to win the 500, overtaking Wu on the last lap after Liang Wenhao of China crashed out. It was the only Olympic race Ahn had never captured, and he became the first skater to win all four individual events at an Olympics in his career.

Ahn sustained a major knee injury that prevented him from competing four years ago in Vancouver, and soon after he made Russia his adopted country. Ahn earned bronze in the 1,500, giving Russia its first medal in the sport on the opening day of competition in Sochi. He then won the 1,000.

Ohno, now retired and working as a TV commentator at the games, had been confident that Ahn would tie his record set from 2002-2010.

Wu earned silver and Charle Cournoyer of Canada took bronze in the men's sprint.

In the women's 1,000, Park Seung-hi of South Korea won her third medal of the games.

Park took over the lead for good from American Jessica Smith early in the race. Park earned her other gold medal in the women's 3,000 relay, and took bronze in the 500.

Fan Kexin of China earned silver, and Shim Suk-hee of South Korea earned bronze in the crash-free final. Shim also won her third medal, having taken silver in the 1,500 and joining Park on the victorious relay.

Smith, of Melvindale, Mich., finished last.

Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands finished third in her 1,000-meter semifinal heat, ending her bid to become the first speed skater to win medals in both short and long track.

Ter Mors won the B final competing in short track about two hours after helping the Netherlands set an Olympic record in long track team pursuit. She had already won gold in the 1,500 on the big oval.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Under Armour said the company is "doubling down" with its new eight-year deal to continue providing uniforms for U.S. Speedskating.

Kevin Plank told the hosts of "CBS This Morning" that the athletic wear company has weathered a great deal of criticism the past couple weeks, as U.S. athletes struggled in the Winter Olympics while skating in the suits. This deal is one step in moving past the controversy.

"We got beat up a little last week," he said, "and speed skating is obviously getting beaten up. What we don't do, is we don't retreat. We get knocked down, we dust ourselves off, and we come back bigger, better and stronger than we were before."



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