Apolo Anton Ohno having ‘tons of fun’ without speedskating, still undecided on return

By Gregg Bell, AP
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ohno happy without skating, undecided on return

SEATTLE — Apolo Anton Ohno’s having fun. He’s speaking about short-track speedskating in the past tense. He’s saying he’s “had a great run” in the sport.

That is, if he decides to retire.

America’s most decorated Winter Olympian said Wednesday he still doesn’t know if he will compete again.

The 28-year-old returned to his native Seattle to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners hosted the Chicago Cubs. He was taking time away from a frenetic schedule that includes a visit to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, then to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Arizona, Los Angeles, Seattle, Utah and then back to L.A.

Whew! And that’s just in the next few days.

“I haven’t had a chance to think about skating, to be honest with you. I’ve been so busy. I’m taking a long break from training and competing, just focusing on some other things in my life,” Ohno said.

He was wearing a Mariners No. 8 game jersey with his name on the back to signify the eighth career medal he won at the Vancouver Games in February.

He says he’s been too busy since then with foundation work, writing a book that he says is due out this fall, acting in movie projects and motivational speaking to think about skating.

“A lot of my time has been concentrated on the things I’ve always wanted to do but just haven’t had the time to do when I was an athlete, ” he said, still smiling in a tunnel just off the Cubs’ dugout.

Minutes earlier he threw a strong strike from atop Safeco Field’s mound — while wearing brown dress shoes.

Yes, the guy does it all.

Asked if he has accomplished enough to leave speedskating instead of competing again in the 2014 Sochi Games, Ohno had an immediate answer.

“To be honest with you, I could have walked away from the sport in 2006, when I had won my fifth medal,” he said. “But I’ve always competed for, I think, reasons beyond just trying to reach the podium. More for internal, self-excellence. … life lessons.

“I’ve been very lucky and very blessed to be healthy and have such a good and long career. But, we’ll see. If my heart is still in it and wants to compete, then obviously I’ll be back. And I will do it to the capacity that I think is necessary.

“But if not, I had a great run.”

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