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. Boston Marathon to move forward with traditional spectacle of a finish

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon

    All eyes will be on a changed Boylston Street on Monday.

  2. Boston Marathon TV, race schedules

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Universal Sports will have live coverage and is on a free preview nationwide.

  3. Boston Marathon men’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Ryan Hall

    Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.

  4. Boston Marathon women’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Shalane Flanagan AP

    An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.

  5. Miracle on Ice hockey player selling his Olympic gold medal

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT

    Mark Pavelich medal

    Mark Wells previously sold his gold medal, too.

  6. Summer Sanders returns to run Boston Marathon again

    Apr 16, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT

    Summer Sanders

    Olympic swimming champion finished 2013 race before explosions.

  7. Nike, USA Track and Field extend partnership through 2040

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT

    Ashton Eaton AP

    Deal takes Nike, USATF through next seven Olympics.

  8. Catching up with Bruce Jenner

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT

    Bruce Jenner Getty Images

    Decathlon champion talks Montreal 1976, Steve Prefontaine and the greatest athlete of all time.

  9. Boston Marathon finish line security visibility increased after backpack incident

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon AP

    Police commissioner asks spectators not to flock to Boylston Street on Monday.

  10. Oscar Pistorius trial will take break for 2 weeks

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius AP

    Judge will spend break reading 2,000-page court record.

  11. ISU receives South Korea complaint over figure skating judging

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:17 AM EDT

    Yuna Kim Getty Images

    Korea Skating Union is protesting the makeup of judges, not the results.

  12. Boston Marathon tribute, moment of silence held near finish line

    Apr 15, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary AP

    Survivors, first responders, those affected by attack take part in tribute.

  13. Boston sports teams share same #BostonStrong tweet

    Apr 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    Boston Strong

    Teams’ tweets sent at same time Tuesday morning.

  14. Usain Bolt talks about foot injury, focus beyond 2014

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt Getty Images

    World’s fastest man might not race again until June.

  15. Can Michael Phelps excel in comeback?

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps AP

    What is the competition like in Phelps’ potential events?

  16. Oscar Pistorius’ cross-examination ends at murder trial

    Apr 15, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius

    Prosecution asks for break until May 5.

  17. Boston Marathon tragedy remembered on anniversary

    Apr 15, 2014, 8:16 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon Reuters

    Ceremony, moment of silence to honor, remember last year’s tragedy.

Featured video

Inside Michael Phelps' comeback