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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From Greek gods to book deals, Apolo Ohno keeping busy


RACHEL COHEN
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK Apolo Anton Ohno can hardly keep track of the 5 1/2 weeks since he won his record eighth career Olympic medal.

He's auditioned for a movie role as a Greek god, met with Hollywood producers about his own TV show, negotiated a book deal, and worked to start a business and a charitable foundation.

Finally, on Monday night while with his father in Washington, D.C., the 27-year-old speedskater got his first full night's sleep since the Vancouver Games.

"I didn't know what to do," Ohno said with a laugh.

One thing Ohno didn't do was skate. He returned to the ice Wednesday, if only to wave to fans from the Rockefeller Center rink, and still won't rule out a return to competition.

"This is the first time I've thought about ice since the Olympic Games. I've just had no time," Ohno said. "But if my heart is still in the sport and I'm hungry for competition then I'll do it, and I think I'll still do it well."

Ohno also provided a glimpse into his future away from the rink on Wednesday. The Seattle native put on a cooking demonstration as part of his work with the Washington State Potato Commission, comfortably chatting with the audience as he made curry potato soup.

Ohno insisted a cooking show is not an option right now, but his ease and charisma in front of a crowd showed why producers are pitching ideas to him some more appealing than others.

Ohno rejected one involving him trying to break a different Guinness World Record each week.

"That'll last like two shows before we get canned," he said. "I'm all about longevity."

He envisions himself as a "young Regis and Kelly," informing viewers about a wide variety of issues. And maybe dabbling in acting, too.

Ohno wouldn't reveal many details about the reading he did for a movie part, though he did note the Greek god is not Apollo.

"I loved it," he said, "the rush that I had from playing somebody else. ... I got to be somebody very different from who I am. I had to be very commanding, very boasting."

Ohno, who took acting classes as a kid, was initially skeptical of auditioning.

"I just have so much respect for people in their own craft," he said.

So if he decides to go into acting, he'll treat it as a serious profession.

"I don't want to be that guy who goes out there and they're like, 'Oh, God, here's that speedskater kid. What the hell is he doing?'" Ohno said.

For all his success on the ice, he knows these opportunities wouldn't be possible if not for his success on "Dancing with the Stars," which he won in 2007. As he sorts out his future in Hollywood, Ohno his promoting his line of nutritional supplements called 8zone.

And he still has goals to fulfill, like returning to Rockefeller Center during the holidays.

"For me it's been a dream to come here during Christmas and skate on this ice rink when it's snowing and all the Christmas lights are up," Ohno said. "You have a nice, hot date with a cool girl it's romantic."