This afternoon I was lucky enough to participate in an interview session with the most decorated American athlete in Winter Olympic history — seven-time medalist Apolo Ohno. The speed skater was nice enough to field questions live via Twitter from his 100,000+ followers (including me!) before heading back onto the ice to train. Gotta love technology!
During the interview I learned that Apolo relaxes before a race by obsessively yawning (it also gives his lungs a bit of extra oxygen) and that despite his appearance in a McDonald's commercial, he hasn't been munching on Big Macs during the games. Check out what else I learned about the champion below.
- There are no words to describe winning a medal. Apolo is nothing but smiles during the medal ceremony, saying that there's no way to really explain what it's like being up there. "[I have] many thoughts and emotions [running through my head]," says Apolo. "It's an honor to stand on that podium."
- When it comes to working out, Apolo is a man of nature. Apolo's favorite way to exercise is to be outdoors, saying, "Nature is sacred!" On the top of his list is running (btw, Apolo is a sneaker freak) and biking. He also stays in shape by doing squats and leg presses.
- Even a champion gets nervous. Even though he has a face that reflects cool determination, Apolo is only human. "Yes I get nervous — I embrace it, it's natural," confesses Apolo. "Although, these Olympics I've been very relaxed. More anxious!"
- Short-track skating takes a lot of training. Apolo says that speed skating is a tough sport, and to stay on top of its game, Team USA does "tons of cross training. Weights, running, biking, jumps, hiking — you name it!"
- Watch out for his other hidden talent. Besides blowing your mind on the ice, Apolo confesses that most people don't know that he has a secret talent for . . . poker! "I'm a hustler on the poker table and roulette calls my name, LOL!"
To find out what Apolo's hidden talent is and how Team USA trains for the Olympics, read more.