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Apolo Ohno Biography

December 27, 2006

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Apolo Anton Ohno is one athlete who left the Salt Lake City Olympics with a rink full of medals. The only thing more certain is that the World Champion speed skater will always have great hair. Here's the lowdown on the fastest guy on ice.

Apolo 13

When Apolo was 13, the coach of the national speed skating team noticed him speed skating at a rink in his hometown of Seattle. He talked to Apolo's father and they arranged for Apolo to move to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York so he could train full time. His dad thought it would give Apolo Anton Ohno some discipline and training.

Apolo Anton Ohno's Training Time

Apolo wasn't so happy with the idea. He missed his friends in Seattle and didn't really like Lake Placid, which is just a small town in NY state. After the first couple of months, he became less homesick and began to train harder. A year later, he won the national overall title when he was just 14.

Apolo Anton Ohno: Speedster

The following year, Apolo put on some extra weight and couldn't quite make those sharp turns on the ice like he could before. He finished last at the Olympic trials and failed to qualify for the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Since then, Apolo Ohno has lost some pounds, worked hard and is now on top of the speed skating world. In 2001, he won the World Cup title in the 500, 1000 and 1500 meter races and helped the US win its first relay title as well. He brought home more than a few medals in Salt Lake City, and in 2003 he was ranked third overall in the World Speed skating ranks.

Apolo's Pizza

When Apolo first moved to Lake Placid to train with the Olympic program, his coach would send the team on daily five mile runs that went past a Pizza Hut. Apolo didn't like running, so he would always duck inside and pound a pizza, then rejoin the rest of his team on the run. A few months later, his coach tested his team's body fat and Apolo finished dead last. He had nearly twice as much fat as his teammates. Apolo cut out the pizza runs and, not surprisingly, his skating improved.

Apolo Anton Ohno's 'Do

Apolo always has great hair because his father, Yuki, is a hairstylist. Yuki used to fly to London all the time to work with models but now he just styles hair at his shop in Seattle. He styles Apolo's long locks before each competition.

Apolo's Important Name

Apolo's name comes from the Greek words "Ap," meaning "lead," and "lo," meaning "away from." The "o" connects it and the name means "to lead away from." He also goes by the nickname "Chunky" which he got back in his pizza-pounding days. His last name, Ohno, comes from his dad's family, which is Japanese.

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