Raised by his father, Ohno began training full-time in 1996. He has been the face of short track in the United States since winning his medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics. At the age of 14, he became the youngest U.S. national champion in 1997 and was the reigning champion from 2001–2009, winning the title a total of 12 times. In December 1999, he became the youngest skater to win a World Cup event title, and became the first American to win a World Cup overall title in 2001, which he won again in 2003 and 2005. He won his first overall World Championship title at the 2008 championships.
During the 2002 Winter Olympics, there were two controversies associated with Ohno. The first was whether or not he intentionally finished third in a qualification race during the U.S. Olympic Trials to allow Shani Davis to make the team. The second occurred when he won the gold medal in the 1500 m race after the disqualification of the first skater to cross the finish line, South Korean Kim Dong-Sung, for blocking Ohno. The disqualification upset South Korean supporters and had a lingering negative effect on Ohno's reputation in South Korea.
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