Ohno in South Korea amid tight security: Arriving in South Korea for the first time since his disputed gold medal at the 2002...
Ohno in South Korea amid tight security: Arriving in South Korea for the first time since his disputed gold medal at the 2002 Olympics, short-track star Apolo Ohno of Seattle attempted to soothe relations by praising the country’s devotion to speedskating and pointing to the capricious nature of the high-speed sport.
But Ohno’s appearance at the second World Cup meet of the year clearly struck a nerve with the South Koreans, who were livid when one of their skaters, Kim Dong-sung, finished first in the 1,500 meters in Salt Lake City but was disqualified for blocking Ohno — giving gold to the U.S. skater.
About 100 riot police stood guard as Ohno arrived at Incheon International Airport outside Seoul, ensuring no one carried out threats that were made against him after his Olympic victory.
Ohno wanted to hold a news conference for local reporters to explain his side of what happened in Salt Lake City, but organizers restricted his access to the media.
“I really wanted to set something up,” Ohno said by telephone. “People have questions about what I’ve been doing the past couple of years. I want them to know I’m excited to be here. I want to put a lot of things on the table. A lot of Koreans are not familiar with me. They only know what they see on the news or what somebody else says. I want to let them know a little bit about me and take it from there.”
Ohno severely sprained an ankle during a World Cup meet in China last week after being pushed by another skater. He said the ankle felt “much better” as he prepared for his first practice in South Korea.
Thrashers hope to meet with holdout: Ilya Kovalchuk will be in Atlanta this week to see his new daughter, and the Thrashers hope they can meet with their holdout forward during his visit.
Kovalchuk, a restricted free agent and the team’s top scorer, is threatening to play this season in his native Russia if he can’t agree on a contract with the Thrashers.
St. Jacques to Anaheim: The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim acquired defenseman Bruno St. Jacques from the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Craig Adams.
Blue Jackets sign top pick: First-round draft pick Gilbert Brule signed a three-year deal with the Columbus Blue Jays, guaranteeing the 18-year-old center a spot on the opening-night roster.
Leschyshyn retires: Defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn, 36, retired, ending a 16-year career in which he was a key part of the Colorado Avalanche’s championship team in 1996.
Attorneys ask judge to toss Moore’s lawsuit: Attorneys for the Vancouver Canucks, forward Todd Bertuzzi and others asked a Denver judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by former Colorado Avalanche center Steve Moore over Bertuzzi’s on-ice attack in March 2004, saying Moore didn’t have enough connections to Colorado to gain the right to sue in state court.
U.S. bypasses regulars: With a World Cup berth clinched, U.S. coach Bruce Arena bypassed many of his top players for Saturday’s qualifier at Costa Rica.
Among the missing are forwards Landon Donovan and Brian McBride, midfielder Claudio Reyna and goalkeeper Kasey Keller from Lacey.
Former Sounders forward Brian Ching (MLS San Jose) made the team.
Hantuchova advances: Daniela Hantuchova beat Meghann Shaughnessy 6-4, 6-0 at the Porsche Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany.
Softball to push for reinstatement: An international softball delegation will meet with IOC president Jacques Rogge today in hopes of winning reinstatement for the 2012 Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee voted in July to drop softball and baseball from the Olympic program after 2008, the first sports cut from the Games since polo in 1936.
Softball, a women’s sport that has been on the program since the 1996 Atlanta Games, came within one vote of keeping its place. Rogge has said the IOC could consider a new vote, but only if members ask for one.
Prosecutors seek jail time for Conte: Victor Conte, at the center of the BALCO scandal, deserves four months behind bars, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed yesterday.
Seattle Times news services