Jan 2, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT
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.”
May 29, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT
“It was scary, but I was lucky.”
May 29, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT
Kipsang also provided his plan for racing the rest of the year.
May 29, 2015, 9:20 AM EDT
The Prefontaine Classic will remember the distance running icon Friday and Saturday.
Dara Torres picks greatest female swimmer(s) of all time, recalls teenage Michael Phelps, more in Q&A
May 28, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT
Torres’ daughter now swims and looks up her mom’s races on YouTube.
May 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
The competition will be live on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday and Sunday.
May 28, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT
Ross spoke with FIVB about the pair’s prospects for the near future.
May 27, 2015, 4:01 PM EDT
Several of the top U.S. contenders for World Championships medals will be in action.
May 27, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT
Cain must be in top shape one month from now for the biggest domestic meet of the season.
May 27, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT
Walsh Jennings has a history of shoulder problems.
May 27, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT
Uhlaender isn’t finished with her sliding career, though.
May 26, 2015, 2:54 PM EDT
Also, Asafa Powell won a 100m race.
May 26, 2015, 8:13 AM EDT
She may change coaches after the World Championships.
May 23, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT
Nathan Adrian’s biggest rival in the 100m freestyle could still be an Australian.
May 22, 2015, 3:44 PM EDT
The 2000 Olympic champion continues to struggle with weight loss.
May 22, 2015, 10:40 AM EDT
“We’re not baking cakes.”
May 22, 2015, 9:57 AM EDT
“We want to rebuild the arena of the Colosseum so that the athletes can be lifted in like the gladiators in the Roman times.”
May 22, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
The U.S. won “Beat the Streets” 9-4.
May 21, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT
Skaters, skiers, gymnasts, track and field athletes and more.
May 21, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT
Russia ceded its place as top challenger to the U.S. in recent Olympics.
May 20, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT
They were a gift from a previous Olympic host city.
- Dara Torres picks greatest female swimmer(s) of all time, recalls teenage Michael Phelps, more in Q&A 1
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross withdraw from Moscow Grand Slam 0
- Prefontaine Classic preview, schedule, broadcast info 0
- Kerri Walsh Jennings injures shoulder, forfeits match 0
- Katie Uhlaender, skeleton World champion, becomes track cyclist 0
- Missy Franklin returns to Colorado, coach Todd Schmitz 1
- Rulon Gardner on returning to wrestling training, getting his gold medal back 1
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)