… and his amazing dad
May 22, 2018
“If I have given my all and still do not win, I haven’t lost. Others might remember winning or losing; I remember the journey.”
What is amazing to me about the person who said this is that, at the time, he was one of the youngest athletes to win an Olympic Gold medal. The individual? Apolo Ohno.
May 22 marks the American short track speed skating champion’s 36th birthday. He has won 2 Olympic Gold, 2 Silver, and 4 Bronze medals.
From the Infallible Wikipedia:
“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.
Ohno’s accolades and accomplishments include being the United States Olympic Committee‘s Male Athlete of the Month in October 2003 and March 2008, the U.S. Speedskating’s Athlete of the Year for 2003, and was a 2002, 2003 and 2006 finalist for the Sullivan Award, which recognizes the best amateur athlete in the United States. Since gaining recognition through his sport, Ohno has worked as a motivational speaker, philanthropist, started a nutritional supplement business called 8 Zone, and in 2007, competed on and won the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars. Ohno later became host of a revival of Minute to Win It on Game Show Network and served as a commentator for NBC‘s coverage of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.”
I think the thing which has set Ohno apart is his attitude and it was that, I believe, which made me a fan of his from the moment I saw him skate in the 2002 Olympic Games. As his story was told I could see that there were two heroes: Apolo and his father, Yuki.
Despite being a single dad struggling to raise his son solo, I imagine Yuki woke up every day and evaluated what exactly his child needed to be successful in life. Worried about Apolo being a latchkey kid without direction, Yuki got Apolo involved in sports.
As one reads between the lines, it becomes clear the path was not one of instant success or without bumps. Apolo faltered more than once but his father never gave up, finding new ways to direct his son.
What the world saw when this young man emerged on the world stage was an incredibly humble individual with wisdom way beyond his years. I contribute much of that to his father’s singular focus on his son’s character development.
I’m including the Wikipedia article, but also a link to his quotes.