Ohno Takes a Rare Break -- for Lunch

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Since becoming the most decorated American Winter Olympics athlete, speed skater Apolo Ohno hasn't had a chance to slow down.

I had never met Apolo Ohno in person before we did our "Lunch" interview, but I was always a big fan, having watched him in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. Becoming the most decorated American Winter Olympics athlete of all time February in Vancouver was a huge feat.

We met at the restaurant inside the hotel where he was staying -- The Jefferson on 16th Street downtown. It is beautiful, newly renovated and the folks running the place as well as our server, Pond, couldn’t have been nicer.

Ohno was in town to speak for the Century Council, an organization that helps pass the word to kids about making good life decisions at an early age (staying away from alcohol, etc) and he was due at the White House that afternoon, but he had only brought jeans so he had to run out that morning to buy some new duds.

He is a bundle of energy -- from the moment he walked into the restaurant throughout the lunch, he was upbeat, engaging and funny. After five minutes of chatting while we set up our shot, he was talking to me about his home sauna and how he keeps it dangerously hot. He took out his iPhone and showed me a photo of himself sitting in the sauna. The temperature was 270 degrees.

Apolo is such an interesting person to talk to, and there are so many things I learned from him that I couldn’t include in my piece so here are some other tidbits you might be interested in:

  • Apolo is one of the most positive, inspirational “tweeters” around.
  • He rededicated himself to workout out as intensely as possible leading up to the Vancouver Olympics, eating out only once in 24 weeks during that time and eating the same thing each day. He dropped about 50 pounds and said he felt superhuman because of how light he was in Vancouver.
  • He doesn’t know if he’ll compete in Soshi, Russia, in 2014.
  • His father, Yosi, is a hairstylist in Seattle. Apolo said his personality wins over the clients (as well as good hair skills).
  • He launched his own nutrition company and is testing the acting waters after winning "Dancing with the Stars" in 2007.

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