Ohno keeps options open for Sochi

Tue, 14 Feb 06:34:00 2012

Apolo Anton Ohno has never been one to shy away from a challenge and while the American is relishing his ambassadorial role for the Special Olympics, the speed skater has yet to rule out the prospect of competing at a fourth Winter Games in 2014.

SPEED SKATING Apolo Anton Ohno of the USA - 0

Ohno has won eight short-track speed skating medals, including two golds, at three Winter Olympics and the 29-year-old said that he would definitely be at the Sochi Games as either a racer or a commentator.

"I will be there in 2014 but I am not sure if I will be skating or not," said the flamboyant Ohno, who has also picked up two silvers and four bronzes since his first Winter Olympics in 2002.

"I may have one of these microphones and you may see me in my helmet," he said, despite not having skated competitively since the Vancouver Games in 2010.

If he does return in 2014, Ohno estimated he would need 15 months of preparations, including three months of physical conditioning and a further year on the ice to be able to compete for medals in Russia.

Concentrating on the present rather than the future, Ohno used his time in Beijing to host a speed skating clinic for Special Athletes in a country with more than one million competitors with learning disabilities.

Helping to raise public awareness towards the Special Olympics in the region, Ohno arrived in China fresh from a visit to his father's homeland Japan and was keen to get more people involved in promoting the organisation.

"The Special Olympics may not be as well known in China as perhaps the Olympics that I competed... the Winter Games or short track speed skating," he said.

"I think the goal is to have as many athletes as we possibly can join and learn how to skate and learn how to do some type of physical activity with the movement."

Ohno has also used his time off the ice to enjoy acting and broadcasting roles but admits his competitive streak has yet to wane and he is not ready to hang up his skates for good after 15 years in the sport.

"I feel like now I have the time that I am taking a break away from speed skating, I can devote my energies and attention to things I care about outside my own personal interest in this sport," he said.

"It's primarily just going to be if I want to continue to pursue this sport again one more time," he added.

"I always love short track speedskating. I will always be drawn to the sport. I lived it, I ate it, I breathed it, I slapped it. It was my life."

Reuters

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