A recent state of Apolo Anton Ohno

日本では今や過去の人・・・でも、アメリカではTVタレントとして活躍しているそうです。10月2日、Zen and the Art of Speedskating にショートトラック選手と一緒に Utah Olympic oval でスピードスケートの練習している近況が "Apolo on Long Track"のタイトルでレポートされていました。Northwest Airlines のサイトには、さら 詳しい事が書かれていたので紹介します。

Apolo on Long Track


click image above for more photos and commentary by Andrew on his terrific blog,
Speed skating blogger extraordinaire Andrew Love has some great new photos of Apolo training on the LT at the Kearns Oval! The short track ice there was dismantled ahead of the LT World Cup being held in Kearns next weekend. In the meantime, Apolo and the other short trackers have been training on the 400m oval. http://www.ohnozone.net
Zen and the Art of Speedskating: Andrew Love Blog

Need for Speed

Ashley Jude Collie (Oct. 1, 2007)
Olympic gold medalist Apolo Anton Ohno talks about skating his way to the top - on the ice and off.
Apolo Anton OhnoSwoosh! His blades cut the ice at the Utah Olympic Oval with wordless poetry, as his powerful legs propel his body around the track at speeds greater than 30 mph. The soul patch on his chin, colorful headband and intense focus are his trademarks. Millions around the world now know Olympian-turned-TV star Apolo Anton Ohno. At 25, the young, vibrant Renaissance man exemplifies a new kind of athlete, earning just as much fame off the ice for his dance moves.

The eight-time U.S. National Short Track speed skating champion and defending 500-meter Olympic gold medalist is training intensely for the 2007-2008 season. The season, which started in September and includes six World Cup meets, concludes in March at the Short Track World Championships in South Korea. As Ohno continues to glide past his U.S. teammates, he also has set his sights on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he aims to become the most medaled male U.S. Winter Olympian in history. At five medals, he's currently tied with former U.S. speed skater Eric Heiden.

"If you're going to do something," Ohno says, "then do it with everything you've got."

Securing the Olympic record for medals would put a dramatic exclamation point on Ohno's storied skating career. His busy post-skating life, however, has already begun.

On May 22 - his 25th birthday - Ohno and his professional dance partner, Julianne Hough, won the top-rated ABC TV competition show, "Dancing with the Stars." The show pairs a cast of stars with professional dancers in a flashy competition, where judges critique performances and viewers call in votes for their favorite pair. Ohno was soon invited to appear on TV talk shows and in countless magazines. Hollywood offers rolled in. People magazine named him one of its "hottest bachelors." The skater had become a crossover star.

Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Win DWtS!

But in his native Seattle, where he's a hometown hero, Ohno's friends say he's still the same down-to-earth young man, despite his athletic and Hollywood success - even if he does have a few more gadgets and toys these days.

"He's the most real celebrity, the most honest, good person with a head firmly on his shoulders," says Seattle entrepreneur and friend Yale Wong, 40. "Even if he's in a rush, he [is poised] and makes time to make [people] feel special, no matter who they are. We could all learn from that."

After practice at the Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, the new home for the U.S. short track team, Ohno obliges every autograph and photo request, even while conducting business on his iPhone. Through it all, he smiles calmly. When his fans are satisfied, Ohno sends a text message to his publicity agent about an upcoming photo shoot, where he'll sport one of his custom-made business suits. He jumps into his new toy, a sleek 1964 Cadillac DeVille convertible, waves to his fans and motors off.

Finding the Right Track

Ohno's meteoric trajectory to the top easily could have been derailed at an early age. His parents divorced when he was a baby. Raised by his father, Yuki, a salon owner in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, Apolo admits that he had a lot of energy to burn as a young teen - and often got into trouble. To keep his son busy, Yuki Ohno enrolled Apolo in competitive swimming and in-line and speed-skating programs.

"Sports - and then short track - [were] a way for me to channel that energy into something positive," Apolo says.

From the start, Apolo showed the tremendous potential that his father had suspected.

"He had no fear," Yuki says. "When I saw him on the short track, I had no doubt that this kid would do something amazing."

In 1997, at age 14, Apolo won the U.S. National Short Track Championship. But success came too quickly.

"I was so young," he says. "Winning was a lot of pressure, and I didn't know how to respond. I didn't know you're supposed to train in the off-season. There was a lack of being coached by the right people. I was a kid growing up with these huge expectations of being the next U.S. Olympic gold medalist, but I just wanted to go home and have a barbecue in Seattle."

Overweight, under-trained and feeling lost, Ohno finished last at the Olympic trials the following January and failed to qualify for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. "I had climbed to the mountain top, then fell right down to the bottom," he says.

His father says it was difficult to watch his son compete "like a wounded lion being chased by a pack of hyenas." To help protect Apolo's love for the sport, Yuki staged an intervention. He drove Apolo to a remote rental cabin near the coast in Iron Springs, Wash., and told his son to think about what he wanted to do with his life. He left the teen for a week with provisions - and the tough love worked.

The epiphany Apolo experienced during his week alone changed him forever, the skater says.

"My dad was smart," Ohno says. "I remember going for a long run and coming to a turning point - should I keep running or turn around? It was pouring rain, I was tired and training mindlessly, and I asked, 'What am I doing?' I stopped, sat on a rock and basically prayed. I said, 'If it's meant to be, please give me the strength to keep running.'"

Ohno finished his run, returned to the cabin and called his father back in Seattle, telling him he planned to dedicate his life to short track skating.

Short track, which made its debut at the 1992 Winter Olympics, stepped into the limelight in 2002. It includes three individual distances - 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters - and a 5,000-meter team relay. With all its thrills, spills and action, short track attracts the American public with "speed, excitement, personalities and danger," Ohno says.

"At age 15, I found my goal," he says. "I didn't know I was going to become a five-time Olympic medalist, but that's the message I try to spread now: No matter what situation you're in, if you believe in yourself, if you prepare and sacrifice, you'll succeed. It's not about winning or losing - it really isn't."

Going for Gold

Later in 1998, Ohno recalls, his "competitive fire started brewing" with his first individual Short Track World Cup win in the 1,000 meters. In 1999, he reclaimed the overall U.S. National Championship, then won gold in the 3,000 meters and the 5,000-meter relay at the World Championships in 2001. At the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, he was expected to finally realize his potential.

The lessons he'd learned by overcoming adversity early in his skating career gave him strength as he prepared for the Salt Lake City Games, Ohno says. An occasional philosopher, the skater paraphrases one of his favorite quotes from the late Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis:

"[Kazantzakis] said we shouldn't be so concerned about winning and losing," Ohno says. "What is important is to carry the struggle further. That can translate to any sport, profession or walk of life. On my hardest days, that quote gives me strength."

Ohno drew inspiration from this mantra in his first Olympic final, the 1,000-meter individual competition. In the race, Ohno led the pack, but a competitor triggered his major wipeout within sight of the finish line - and the gold medal. Ohno got up immediately and finished the race. "I always say, 'I won the silver, I didn't lose the gold,'" he recalls. "I got back up and carried the struggle further, just like [Kazantzakis] said."

Before a captivated TV audience, Ohno went on to win gold in the 1,500-meter individual race.

Olympic Encore

Even with silver and gold medals in hand after 2002, the thrill of competition remained fresh for Ohno. At the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, he took bronze in the 1,000-meter individual race and added a gold medal in the 500-meter competition. To cap his Olympic success that year, Ohno helped capture the bronze in the 5,000-meter team relay.

"It was just like organized chaos out there," he says of the relay. "[It was] absolutely exciting and great to share with my teammates."

After Turin, Ohno considered ending his skating career on top. First, he took time off to survey his options, returning to Seattle to relax with his father. He also spent time with his friend and mentor, Wong.

Ohno began exploring various business opportunities, including real estate, and seeking business advice from Wong, who became a millionaire after selling his dot-com company, Compass Communications, in 2004.

"We [would] go to some great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and talk business strategy," Wong says. "He's always keen to learn about the angles. He's really a sharp guy, and it's amazing how he can keep it all together. At 25, he's already planning his future and how to get there."

Ohno surprised many observers by returning to skating in February 2007 to win his eighth overall U.S. National title. In March, he took gold in the 1,500-meter individual race at the World Championships.

This past spring, he made the leap from sports to Hollywood with "Dancing with the Stars." The TV competition increased his confidence, Ohno says.

"It's interesting that something like dance, which I knew nothing about before, could evoke a personality change like that," he says. "The show gave me an opportunity to just be myself on camera, let people inside to see not only the athletic side of Apolo, but also my other facets. That's what resonated with viewers."

Apolo Rising

Taking time off to ponder retirement gave Ohno new perspective on his beloved sport - and the drive that helped him capture individual gold at the most recent World Championships.

"I realized I still have a jones for the sport," he says. "I'm blessed with a gift. I still love competing, but I'm now at a point where I'm not out to prove anything. Now I can just enjoy it and represent the U.S. one more time at the Games - and hopefully set an example for the millions of people watching."

He says he's proud of his country and his Japanese-American heritage, which reflects America's growing diversity.

"We are the melting pot of the world," Ohno says. "Everyone comes here. I'm very proud of my father's Japanese heritage, but I'm also very proud to be American."

Ohno's appeal seems guaranteed to grow. After he skates his last race, his recent crossover success offers plenty of career options.

"I love cars and speed," Ohno says of just one possibility. "I love going fast, that's always been kind of my thing. I drove the pace car at the 2007 Indianapolis 500. Down the road, I'd love to try auto racing. Life is too short. Why not?"

by Ashley Jude Collie - a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Maclean's and Spin.

Emerald City Prince

Apolo Ohno is an unabashed fan of his native Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. "Through the change of seasons, the Northwest is incredibly beautiful, even when it's raining," he says. "The people are friendly, it's a place of commerce and a great place to raise families. Whenever I come here, it's coming back home. This is where I'll settle after my speed skating career."
When touring his hometown, Ohno suggests visitors explore some of the Emerald City's many islands and waterfront areas.

"Because of its beauty, you've got to check out places like Mercer Island, Bellevue and Alki Beach, with its great view back to the city," he says. "Seattle is such a happening city - it really offers quite a lot."

For seafood lovers - including sushi devotees - Seattle is a dining Mecca.

Ohno's favorites include Hana Restaurant, a Japanese venue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The skater touts the restaurant's beef teriyaki bowl as the best in town. Located at 219 Broadway E. Call 206-328-1187.

He also recommends I Love Sushi, which has three locations. His favorite, the flagship Bellevue Main location, features a variety of tofu specialties. Located at 11818 N.E. 8th St. Call 425-454-5706.
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http://youtube.com/watch?v=ysZxTNVN9QQ
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