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FBI Investigating Threatening E-Mails Sent to Skater Apolo Ohno


February 24, 2002

The FBI is investigating threatening e-mails sent to U.S. short-track speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who has been involved in two controversial races at the Winter Olympics.

The 19-year-old Seattle native received more than 40 e-mails with ``non-specific'' threats through the athlete e-mail service on the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's Web site, said Bill Matthews, an FBI special agent based in Salt Lake City for the Winter Games.

``We're taking this very seriously and pursuing an investigation,'' he said. ``We've made some progress.''

Matthews wouldn't provide details.

``It's not like they said, `I'm going to kill you at 4 o'clock tomorrow,'' he said. ``They weren't specific, but we take everything seriously.''

Salt Lake organizers first told the FBI about the threats on Sunday night, shortly after Ohno was involved in a crash in the 1,000-meter race. Ohno, who was leading at the time, got entangled with China's Jiajun Li on the final turn and they ended up in a pileup with Korea's Hyun-Soo Ahn and Canada's Mathieu Turcotte.

Li and Ahn were knocked out of the race, but Ohno managed to slide feet first across the finish line for the silver medal behind Australia's Steven Bradbury, who was far behind the leading group and avoided the crash. Turcotte finished third.

In yesterday's 1,500-meter race, Ohno was awarded the gold medal after South Korea's Kim Dong-Sung, who crossed the finish line first, was disqualified for blocking Ohno on an attempted pass during the final lap. China's Li finished second, while Canada's Marc Gagnon was third.

By Michael Buteau. Copyright © 2002 Bloomberg L.P.


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