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Saturday, February 23, 2002
Ohno's gold upheld by arbitration panel

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- Apolo Anton Ohno can keep his first Olympic gold medal.

An arbitration panel early Saturday dismissed a South Korean protest that would have stripped the American short-track speedskating star of the gold in the men's 1,500-meter race and given it to Kim Dong-sung.

Kim was disqualified minutes after crossing the finish line first, when the race judge ruled he had interfered with Ohno when the U.S. star tried to pass on the final lap.

But in a 2½-hour session before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the U.S. Olympic Committee successfully argued that the South Koreans "had no basis for alleging that the field-of-play decision was arbitrary or made in bad faith."

There was no immediate reaction from the South Koreans.

Ohno's victory was at the heart of a threat by the South Korean Olympic Committee to "use all measures necessary to rectify the misjudgment," including a possible boycott of the closing ceremony.

The boycott threat was withdrawn Friday, when IOC president Jacques Rogge met with the South Korean delegation.

"The Koreans very clearly explained that they are fighting for their position in front of the CAS is one thing, but in the Olympic spirit, being there participating in the closing ceremony, of course, is another thing," IOC director general Francois Carrard said. "We are confident for the closing ceremony."

Kim Un-yong, an IOC member from South Korea, said he did not want competition results "reversed in a conference room. ... We don't want continuous protest and reversal. But we want strong, neutral judging and fair play in the Olympics."