Apolo Ohno Is No Fluke, No Joke: His Turnaround Reveals Feel-Good Story

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Apolo Ohno Is No Fluke, No Joke: His Turnaround Reveals Feel-Good Story
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In any other context, Apolo Anton Ohno is a rare talent.

He’s the perfectionist in a sport that comes with much durability and technique, a matchless attribute separating him from a typical speed skater.

As if he’s an ordinary specimen sustaining joy once again at the Winter Games, Ohno adds to a remarkable legacy and has met the agenda in an every four-year event.

Two days removed from the horrific death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, a reckless tragedy that pierced our hearts and slaughtered the principle of the 2010 Winter Games, Ohno endures a rapturous scene as the most decorated speed skater in ages.

Incredibly, he’s the most enthralling winner, capturing a medal in the uttermost compelling event. It’s a soothing turn-of-events in the games thus far, refreshing memories of what the Winter Games truly represents akin to the stylish and talented skating managed efficiently by the six-time medalist.

Yet, he gazes at Olympic gold with history repeating itself, meaning he’s America’s true hero.

This is especially true if Lindsey Vonn’s shin isn’t healed in time for her Alpine events, or if America’s hockey team is unable to pull off the 2010 version of Miracle on Ice, or if Lindsey Jacobellus clumsily falls before advancing past the finish line in her snowboarding events.

In British Columbia, the forecast calls for light rain, but instead snow is badly needed in order to contribute in the skiing events. Quite simply, it’s outlandish this time of year to witness rain in the forecast, particularly with Vancouver hosting the Games.

Lack of cold weather is an issue, but fortunately the warmer climate isn’t a problem regarding short-track speed skating.

Among patriotic citizens, most of them were hopefully cheering on Ohno. He’s a world-class athlete and engenders humankind. Consider it all a way for us to become obsessed with cultural standpoints of speed skating and the creative techniques of a sport that mandates endurance and perseverance, a primary agenda for strength in the lower body and cardio-system.

For the average American, we should remember that most U.S. athletes were introduced and groomed at an early age, which works in favor of Ohno, who caught our attention by holding up all five of the gold-tipped fingers on his left hand.

Seconds later, he tucked the American flag in his arm, proud and ecstatic of adding to his historic collection a sixth medal (silver) in the 1,500-meter final Saturday night.

The top-notch star of short-track embraced the moment, smiling happily, and bear-hugged and lifted his U.S. teammate J.R. Celski, the 19-year old skater who finished third, winning the bronze.

“I just feel so blessed to be here, healthy, competing,” Ohno said. “It feels like home soil to me. We just have so much support in the crowd.”

What it means to win is indescribable, and Ohno will be remembered as one of the greatest short-track skaters of all-time.

The latest win is historic and ties Bonnie Blair for most medals won by a U.S. Winter Olympian.

Had he won a gold medal, Ohno would’ve been overjoyed, but he’s humbled finishing as runner-up.

Normally, Olympians are distraught and unsatisfied whenever they finish as runner-up, but he’s a gracious athlete entertaining partial applause.

Not as hyped as prolific U.S. snowboarder Shaun White or embattled skier Bode Miller, Ohno is a matchless talent on the ice, scorching on the slippery and frozen surface by following his usual routine.

First he paces himself and very seldom starts off with the lead, but takes over near the final lap to cap an inexplicable win.

Frankly, he’s the spotlight and the front-page headline, while the rest wait until their events are underway. There’s much uncertainty as to whether they’ll perform near their potential.

As of now, we are witnessing a one-of-a-kind sequence started by a dominant short-track speed skater from the suburbs of Seattle, where he adapted to life and was raised by a single father, growing up motherless. Ever since stepping into four-wheel skates, unlike the rollerblades kids tend to strap on nowadays, Ohno has been fond of skating and drew deep interest as a child.

As years progressed, he advanced greatly and now possesses a medal in every color, passing Eric Heiden as the most decorated American male at the Winter Games.

Setting a mark for most track medals since the wild-and-wooly sport joined the Olympic Games in 1992 is huge, representing the U.S. where some of the deepest athletes are pinpointed.

With three more events left at the Vancouver Games (two individual races and the relay), Ohno could be on pace to prevail with an abundance of wins and pass Blair.

Favored to cap all events, he ruined wishes of Canadian sensation Charles Hamelin in the semifinals of his first race with an undaunted move inside. Because he’s fearless, Ohno had no regrets or sensitivity as bitter, red-clad fans crowded the Pacific Coliseum, angry about the results.

“I’ve come prepared, more than I’ve ever prepared for anything in my life,” Ohno said. “I’m in a very, very good place. Obviously, I know I have six medals now and I have no regrets about this entire Olympic Games experience. This is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.”

If you didn't know, he made his Olympic debut 18 years ago. Some are convinced he was quicker and more vibrant then, but there’s not much of a difference.

In fact, he’s more experienced and well-balanced, including an attentive mentally.

Oh yes, he’s in his prime. Those are additives that could be favorable in the upcoming events.

He won his first medal in Salt Lake City where he embodied a newfound sport and eminence. In the 1,000m race at those Games, he crashed on the final turn as did several other skaters. Australia’s Steven Bradbury lasted and won the gold medal to finalize the biggest upset. If there was something positive about the run, Ohno finished second to win silver.

“Pretty intense,” Ohno said. “This is what this sport is all about.”

After all, his is a wonderful story, perhaps the most wonderful story in these Winter Games. Happily, the story is about Ohno, a premier short-track speed skater taking the much-needed limelight.

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