Apolo Ohno hopes new book will inspire and teach athletes
By MEGAN MANAGAN
Mercer Island Reporter Reporter
December 9, 2010 · Updated 12:21 PM
Ten months ago when Apolo Ohno arrived in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics, he said he felt like he was already on top.
The speed skater said recently he knew the Games would be good for him because of months of preparation and his plan to achieve those goals. He left the Richmond, British Columbia, rink as a celebrated skater — becoming the most decorated American Winter Olympics athlete.
In his self-described long break from training, Ohno said he’s getting to do all the things he wanted to, but never had the time to before. He’s currently traveling the country as part of a U.S. tour for his new autobiography and motivational book.
“I wanted to share my story and the behind-the-scenes aspect,” he said. “I wanted to look at my relationship with my father. It’s motivational and inspirational.”
He said he felt people would be able to relate to the ups and downs he’s had with his father, Yuki, over the years, as he went from a kid to a thriving adult.
The book, titled “Zero Regrets,” doesn’t just focus on his training and life as a skater, but looks at his philosophy and life beyond the track. He said younger audiences will be able to see the kind of hard work that it takes to become the best at what you do, but also how to set goals and learning to pursue passions.
“My message (to younger audiences) is to put forth your best effort, to try and pursue your goals with zero regrets,” said Ohno. “In this life we have no guarantees about tomorrow; you have to be your best on and off the field.”
The speed skater, who will wrap up his book tour in the next month, said the one thing he wished he’d known more about growing up and in the early legs of his career was the importance of health and nutrition.
“There is so much I’ve learned and it’s a big part now of who I am,” said Ohno. The athlete said it was one thing he hopes students and athletes understand early in their lives, that living in a healthy way is a big deal. Such a big deal, he launched his own nutritional supplement company 8 Zone.
“It’s made me a stronger athlete,” he said of learning more about nutrition. “It’s an aspect of competition that is very highly overlooked. Everyone should be living healthy, whether they are an athlete or not.”
After years of training and competing at the highest level, Ohno said the best way he knows to keep the training from getting dull is to find freshness.
“You have to change it up,” he said. “You have to always vary the intensity and work different things, but keep it fun.”
Staying focused is another huge aspect of remaining at the top of a sport and Ohno said he keeps his focus by setting goals and making a plan, something he said anyone can do.
“I develop a plan and a schedule to accomplish them,” he said of goals. “Really the battle is won or lost off the field.”
Ohno said after 15 years of basically non-stop focus on speed skating he’s taking a long break and has a variety of projects in the works, like the book, TV and speaking engagements. But fans who love to see him on the ice shouldn’t worry because a long break doesn’t mean he won’t be back.Contact Mercer Island Reporter Reporter Megan Managan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 232-1215 ext. 5054.