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Protest e-mails crash Olympic server

February 22, 2002 

South Korea is among the world's most wired countries, and e-mail and Web sites were at the forefront of protest, back by the more traditional media.

Korean Kim Dong-sung crossed the line first but was disqualified for impeding American Apolo Anton Ohno, who was awarded the gold medal.

A flood of "insulting" e-mail from South Korea caused the server of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to crash on Thursday.

A spokesman for the USOC said it received 16,000 e-mails from South Korea within five hours of Ohno's win, some of which constituted threats to Ohno and were passed on to the FBI.

Comments on Web sites included a call to harass the U.S. soccer team when it plays in the World Cup finals in South Korea in June.

"All the referees are servants of the U.S.," said one of hundreds of angry comments on the Web site of the Sports Chosun.

"The United States is a gangster country," wrote another. The Joongang Ilbo daily paper said the result proved there was an "axis of favoritism"--a jab at President Bush's "axis of evil" comments about North Korea.

Some Koreans expressed relief the controversy boiled up after Bush had left South Korea on Thursday after a 40-hour visit that was stalked by small but noisy anti-U.S. protests.

Ohno told a news conference in Salt Lake City that he had been unaffected by the flood of e-mail from furious Koreans. South Korea has appealed against the decision and also plans to file a lawsuit in a U.S. district court.

By Reuters. Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited.

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