Blogtober Day 25: Apolo Ohno

It's the laaaast Friday of Blogtober! WOO! I gotta say, this whole blog-every-day thing, as fun as it is, is a serious time suck and it's getting kind of exhausting. I really don't know how some bloggers do this month after month after month. My hat is off to all of you that do.

Luckily, though, I saved this particular post for close to the end to motivate myself through the final push. So here. we. go.

Can we talk about the amount of angst this guy put me through during his races? I'm talking digging my fingernails into my face and screaming myself hoarse. It's a rough life being emotionally invested in a short track skater.

Speaking of a rough life (I didn't even do that on purpose; accidental perfect transition for the win!), Apolo overcame a lot to get to where he is. He was raised by a single father and fell into a group of super shady older kids when he was young. Apolo credits sports with saving him from going down a really bad path, though he did kind of fight it kicking and screaming in the beginning.

He became the youngest U.S. national champion ever, at age 14, in 1997 and went on to hold the title from 2001-2009, winning it 12 times. In 1999 he became the youngest skater to win a World Cup event title, and he became the first American to win a World Cup overall title in 2001, and won again in 2003 and 2005. He won his first overall World Championship title at the in 2008. He has 21 World Championship medals in total.

And then, of course, there's the Olympics. Apolo made his debut in 2002, winning a gold and a silver and my heart amidst a decent amount of controversy (which kind of became a theme with him -- so even MORE angst and heart palpitations!). In 2006, he won two bronzes and a gold, but not just any gold. THE gold. The Perfect Race (watch that video and take a moment to bask in the utter flawlessness). In 2010, his final Olympics, he took home two more bronzes and a silver for eight Olympic medals total.

 Those eight medals make Apolo the most decorated American winter Olympian of all time. (He also happened to win that record-breaking medal at night on Feb. 20... but on the east coast, it was the wee hours of Feb. 21. So basically, Apolo made history on my birthday. BOOM.)

But what I really love about Apolo is how he never lost his good sportsmanship, he never stopped working his tail off, and he never complained about crashes or losses or disqualifications. When you read his book, you know that this is a guy that gets it. He doesn't want to win for the sake of winning; he wants to have earned it. He knows that the Olympics are more significant than just a sporting event, which is something I may agree with. But just a little bit (she says as she continues to write her Olympics blog...).

So, while I'm really sad that he's now retired, I am kind of glad that I won't have to watch him race around at a gazillion miles an hour with five other guys all with knives strapped to their feet. But thanks to him, I now get to stress out about the next generation of short trackers, and I'll enjoy every second of it. :)

Venus Trapped in Mars

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