Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2010 Will He Skate Or Won't He Skate?

That is the question. It seems as if everyone wants to know, particularly in Seattle, if Apolo will skate in the 2010 Olympics. I mean Vancouver is only 120 miles away; we are closer than 99% of all of Canada. Apolo is from Seattle and in fact, his Dad now lives right down the road in Edmonds. So in essence, this is as close to a hometown Olympics as you can get for this now five time Olympic medalist. In all liklihood, Apolo probably has no idea what his plans are for the next months to a year to four years from now. One can assume, there will be many demands on his star power but skating is what he loves. Skating in an Olympics so close to home must be very enticing. At this moment nobody knows if he will or if he won't.

I had the extreme good fortune to ask Apolo this very question myself back in 2003. At that time, he said his plans were to be skating in 2010 in Vancouver. I was lucky enough to be reporter credentialed for the Vancouver Olympics Announcement held in Seattle at the Edgewater Hotel on July 2, 2003. My journalistic efforts were posted on http://ohnozone.net/ which is a short track speedskating and Apolo Ohno website. My report follows:

Announcement of Vancouver as 2010 Olympic Winter Games host city
Seattle, WA - Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Report courtesy of Janet

First of all, we have been excited about the possibility of Vancouver/Whistler being the site of the 2010 Olympics. Everybody I know goes to Whistler either in the summer to play or the winter to ski and of course, Vancouver is less than two hours away. We feel very connected. So it was a thrill for me to be there today to witness the announcement and then with Apolo and Yuki present--it was over the top!! Sandra, Kaley (my daughter) and I arrived promptly and went to the Olympic ballroom (named after the mountains). We seated ourselves at a small table. It was mostly media and dignitaries; not really very many people because I think they were all up in Whistler. I wore my glasses to look very official and had my legal pad--I cannot think without it anyway.

We listened to a few little talks and then Yuki and Apolo arrived shortly before the big announcement. Apolo gave a short speech about how excited he is that the Olympics would be in the Northwest and that hopefully he'll skate in 2010 as well. He said it would be really hard NOT to. Then flash on the screen--Vancouver wins!! Great timing!! Following that the official announcement from Prague was shown on the screen and everybody screamed and clapped.

After the announcement, the various media/camera/ microphone toting people surrounded Apolo for interviews. We approached Yuki and introduced ourselves and he was terrific. We chatted about how great this decision was for us and our economy. The Seattle PI banquet came up and I told him I thought Apolo should have won [Seattle Athlete of the Year]. He kept trying to grab Apolo to meet us--it was so charming. "Where did Apolo go now?" I love how he says Apolo. At one point Yuki actually asked the event coordinator if Apolo could please meet us. The guy responded, "MR.OHNO, you can have your son meet anyone you want!!" It was hysterical.

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media around Apolo on the left

Following all of the official interviews, Apolo came over to meet us. I shook his hand. Like a crazy old woman, I told him about my dog named Apolo. He giggled at the thought and said, "Awesome!"

But then I asked him about his remarkable comment that he would attempt to participate in the 2010 Olympics. "I expected at that point you'd be a reporter for NBC or something!!"

"I'd like to skate but I will be involved in the 2010 Olympics in some way no matter what!"

We were all giddy about this Vancouver decision. I took my daughter's picture with him and thanked him and Yuki profusely for their time. I told Yuki how proud we were of our home town boy and we'd keep track of his son's fabulous skating.

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Apolo and Kaley (15)

[emphasis added]

So are two Gold Medals, one Silver, and three Bronze won in two Olympics enough? My bet is no. At one point during the Torino games in response to some question, Apolo said, "This is only my second Olympics." Only his second Olympics.

Vancouver would make it three. It is in his blood now.