Skip to content

Apolo Ohno ready for short track analyst debut at Olympic trials

Jan 2, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

Apolo Anton Ohno AP

Apolo Ohno has a simple goal as he ventures into commentating.

“Hopefully, I can bring a little bit of an inside perspective given my previous history in the sport,” he said.

That likely won’t be a problem.

Ohno, the most decorated Olympic skater and U.S. Winter Olympian of all time with eight medals, will call the action rather than taking part in it for the first time this weekend.

Ohno signed on to be NBC Olympics’ short track speed skating analyst for Sochi after retiring last year. He’ll get his feet wet at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Kearns, Utah, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra (full trials schedule here).

The 31-year-old is well prepared.

He already has TV credentials from winning “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, serving as an NBC Olympics reporter at the 2012 London Games and hosting the game show “Minute to Win It” earlier this year.

Ohno did more homework, talking to Ted Robinson, the NBC Olympics short track play-by-play voice in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and Dan Jansen, the long track analyst at the last three Winter Games.

He also went into the archives, watching Olympic short track action from as far back as 1992, its debut as an official Olympic sport.

“Just to refresh my memory,” Ohno said, “and get that different perspective from being on the other side of the camera.”

What was short track coverage like 20 years ago?

“Minimal,” Ohno said. “The analysts, it was their first time ever seeing the sport. They were as much in the dark as anyone watching. The sport was still growing. The speeds weren’t as high as today. The equipment wasn’t the same.”

Ohno had a laser focus during his three Olympic Games and hopes to delve into the mental side of the sport.

“What goes into the mind of an athlete, four years of training and now trying to perform and gain their place on the Olympic team,” Ohno said. “What goes on in the psyche and the last moments before the final.”

The technical side won’t be lost, though. Ohno said the most popular questions he was asked by fans during his career — outside of “Aren’t you that dancer guy?” — were about equipment, technique and the ability to stay upright while bending his body on race turns.

But avoiding jargon and confusion is key, something he’s learned from watching Cris Collinsworth and Ato Boldon in other sports.

Ohno goes into his first short track meet as an analyst with no fears. He also has no desire to jump back on the ice, even though he felt that competitive itch watching Michael Phelps swim in London.

“I would be lying if I did say that I didn’t miss training and competing and being at the top of my game,” Ohno said. “I actually got so excited [in London] that I thought about coming back and competing in ’14. But I think I made the right decision.”

Mexican skier to be second oldest Winter Olympian ever

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte split duels in Mesa

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:03 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Katie Ledecky also flirted with a world record.

  2. Boston Marathon preview: Can Meb Keflezighi repeat?

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:17 AM EDT

    Meb Keflezighi AP

    The U.S. appears to have a better shot in the women’s race.

  3. Michael Phelps jokingly challenges Katie Ledecky to race

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Phelps has raced against a record-breaking woman before.

  4. Debbie Phelps texted Michael Phelps about Rio 2016 years ago (video)

    Apr 17, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Debbie Phelps Getty Images

    “I’m like, Michael, 2016, Rio, 50 free, 100 free, just a relay.”

  5. Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky tie in 400m freestyle

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    The finals are at 9 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.

  6. Yevgeny Plushenko to return to figure skating competition

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Evgeni Plushenko AP

    Plushenko wants to compete in a fifth Olympics in 2018.

  7. St. Louis Marathon disqualifies woman who crossed finish line first

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT

    St. Louis Marathon

    It took organizers about 20 minutes to figure out what happened Sunday.

  8. Michael Phelps back with ‘OK’ victory in Mesa

    Apr 17, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps outdueled Ryan Lochte, but he was slower than last year.

  9. Michael Phelps could be offered World Championships spot by FINA

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT

    AP AP

    If Phelps is added by FINA, the U.S. might be able to try for podium sweeps at the World Championships.

  10. Michael Phelps fastest in first race since August

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Phelps and Ryan Lochte appear headed for a showdown Thursday night.

  11. Andrew Wiggins to play for Canada in Olympic qualifying

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Andrew Wiggins Getty Images

    Canada has a shot to qualify for its first Olympics since 2000.

  12. Aaron Cook, top-ranked taekwondo fighter, switches from Great Britain to Moldova

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    “There is no legitimate case for nationality change,” a British official said.

  13. Eugene gets 2021 World Track and Field Championships

    Apr 16, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Prefontaine Classic Getty Images

    See Eugene’s bid video for 2019 that failed to get a taste of what Worlds will be like in the U.S.

  14. Michael Phelps accepts missing World Championships, eyes Rio Olympics

    Apr 15, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps discussed his time away from swimming during his suspension.

  15. Watch Rio Olympic park construction progress video

    Apr 15, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT

    Rio Olympic Park

    The video states that the swimming stadium is 58 percent complete.

  16. Kristin Armstrong ends cycling retirement

    Apr 14, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT

    Kristin Armstrong Getty Images

    Armstrong explained her comeback on social media.

  17. Four storylines to watch at Pro Swim Series at Mesa

    Apr 14, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte Getty Images

    There’s Michael Phelps, but also much more.