This morning NBC declared that Apolo Ohno is one of the greatest American Olympians of all time. But is he really or is NBC just pumping him up to raise ratings? Some would consider his 6 medals in the Winter Olympics (tied for American record with Bonnie Blair) enough to set him in the pantheon of Olympic greats like Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps, Michael Johnson and (yes) Bonnie Blair. The difference between Ohno and Blair is that Blair won 5 golds over 4 Winter Olympic Games and never had any controversy tied to her medals. Ohno, however has not win without controversy. In both of his races in which he has won the silver medal, the result came because of crashes by competitors in front and behind him, effectively taking out the competition. In one of his Gold medal wins, the result came as a technicality when the winner of the race was disqualified for illegally blocking. So Ohno as won 3 medals (1 Gold, 2 Bronzes) on his own accord, which does not elevate him to the level of past American Olympic greats.
If Ohno were to win a few medals this Winter Olympics, then perhaps he could ascend the steps into Greatness, but for now he is just another good American Olympian.