Apolo Ohno attends the premiere of "Manny" on Jan. 20, 2015 in Hollywood, Calif.
It’s been more than nine years since Apolo Ohno last made a competitive lap on an Olympic speedskating track, but retirement hasn’t slowed the eight-time medalist.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“I’m just as busy and actually significantly busier now than I’ve ever been,” Ohno said. “Now it’s more cutting down things to focus on what’s most important and where can I make the most impact, not only on my friends and family but also society as a whole and seeing if I can leave a positive impact on the earth, as much as I can.”
Ohno, who turned 37 years old on Wednesday, remains the most decorated U.S. Olympian at the Winter Games with eight medals (two golds, two silvers, four bronzes). But he’s not done adding to his legacy quite yet. The Seattle native has remained busy with work on TV and a few business ventures. Ohno is currently working on a book chronicling his life thus far; he previously released one in 2010.
Ohno has remained in the public eye off and on since, from two stints on “Dancing with the Stars” — Ohno and partner Julianne Hough won the mirror ball in 2007 — to the occasional game show appearance to working as a commentator for NBC during the Winter Games in both 2014 and 2018.
On the ice Ohno won his record number of medals across three Olympics, from 2002 to 2010. He also accumulated 21 world championship medals and was a three-time overall world cup winner over the course of his legendary career.
These days Ohno is more focused than ever on some of his entrepreneurial ventures, particularly in the health and technology sectors, but he’s also preparing to give fans a deeper look into his life post-competition.
Drawing from his own journals, conversations and experiences, Ohno has spent the past year working on a book that will examine the transformation and reinvention that comes after an Olympic athlete retires and has to find his or her place in a much different world.
“It pulls back the curtain, in a sense, and showcases all the inner workings that go into making an Olympic athlete and then also the other side of what happens after day 17 of the Games when you’re no longer competing,” he said. “You’re at the top of your game, you’re in top physical condition, top mental condition, and now you’re thrust into a world that is very unfamiliar to you and you feel like an alien.”
Although the experience of transitioning from the world of Olympic sports to a life that more closely resembles that of everyday people may be unique, Ohno said, it’s also not unlike what happens when someone changes careers, graduates from school or re-enters the workforce. He hopes the book, which should be released early next year, will resonate with anyone who’s ever had to go down a path that’s unfamiliar and new.
Ohno also has a deep passion for technology. He was an early investor in digital currencies and is currently one of several high-profile athletes who’s put his money behind a Finnish company called Oura Health. He is also the cofounder of Allysian Sciences, a health and supplement company.
“My goal is to help people feel better and achieve the goal of how do I perform better and give myself the best possible chance to have free time to do the things I love,” he said. “That’s always my goal is how can I optimize my time and be efficient and at the same time be able to perform to the level that I want to time and time again?”
With his various business interests, Ohno spends much of his time traveling between Asia and the U.S. He’s still made time over the years to show up in some unexpected places, such as making television guest appearances on “Hawaii Five-0,” “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris,” “Hollywood Game Night” hosted by Jane Lynch and hosting Game Show Network’s “Minute to Win It.”
Ohno also competed in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2014, finishing the grueling race in under 10 hours.
He also still keeps in touch with many of his former teammates and current coaches and members of the US Speedskating team. He’s always happy to share his experiences and what worked for him with the next generations looking to realize their own Olympic dreams.
“I do miss those days, being on the ice with my teammates,” he said. “There’s nothing like being part of that. It’s really special and really unique.
“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to those currently trying to become Olympic hopefuls it’s to cherish those moments. You have the pleasure of pursuing something for the purity of pursuing it and not many people have that luxury, so give 100 percent regardless of the risk, regardless of what the outcome may be.”