Embracing change, Ohno discusses journey from Olympic gold

Morning In America

(NewsNation Now) — As the latest Olympic Games conclude, the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete in history is sharing the story of his journey from gold at the games to businessman.

Apolo Anton Ohno is a retired short-track speed skating competitor and an eight-time medalist in the Winter Olympics. He is also the champion of “Dancing with the Stars” and now a bestselling author.

Ohno made an appearance on “Morning in America” to discuss his new book “Hard Pivot.”

Many people grew up watching Ohno compete. He helped launch speed skating into the national spotlight, making it cool in a manner not unlike what Shaun White did for snowboarding.

Inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2019, Ohno has become a role model for a generation of athletes. But it’s what came next that Ohno addresses in his new book, or, more so, the challenge of transitioning to what comes next.

“This is quite common amongst especially Olympic athletes, but really anyone going through a pretty significant life change,” Ohno said.

In his book, Ohno discusses his life’s shift since competing in the Olympics and the challenges that came with it.

“I didn’t know what was next. I knew that I want to change. I know that I sought change,” he said.

In speed skating, a hard pivot is an aggressive shift of direction. For Ohno, that pivot didn’t happen necessarily on the ice, but rather, when he decided to hang up his skates.

Ohno spent “nearly 15 years married to this idea of being an Olympic athlete,” he said. “But that kind of behavioral conditioning that I was married to was really challenging as I faced, and I wanted to transition to, a new part of my life.”

Many people, not just athletes, face similar challenges as they attempt to transition either from a long career or something they have dedicated themselves to for a long period of time.

“I think a lot of people go and have gone through that same type of emotional tie,” he said. “We’ve seen in the past two years of questioning their life path, questioning their purpose, questioning their importance, whether it’s in their current trajectory of career or their transition towards what’s next.”

His intent with the book is to guide people who are making a similar journey.

“The idea … is just to help nurture this conversation with people,” he said. “So that they can have deeper conversations with themselves, be radically transparent around kind of the shortcomings, maybe the insecurities, the fears of failures that have been driving them or paralyzing them in their own pursuit of their own goals.”

According to Ohno, his book provides the tools and inspiration to create a new life filled with greater purpose, wisdom, and joy.”

“You can trust yourself,” he writes.

Ohno retired from competition in 2010, but still watches the Olympics.

“I watched the games very consistently,” he said. “Every Olympics, whether it’s summer or winter, I spent a tremendous amount of time.”

You can watch the full interview with Apolo Ohno in the video player at the top of the page.

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