News / USA

Ohno Rules Out Sochi Olympics, Says Career Over

Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno is seen in New York April 24, 2013.
Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno is seen in New York April 24, 2013.
Reuters
American Apolo Anton Ohno has confirmed he will not compete at next year's Sochi Winter Olympics and has effectively retired from short-track speed skating.
       
Although Ohno, the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian, had been reluctant to speculate on his future, he told Reuters on Wednesday his days of competing were all but over and that he intended to pursue a broadcasting career.
       
"I'll be in Sochi but I definitely won't be trying out. I'll be with NBC,'' he said. "There's been no official retirement party, I've not had a press conference to say I'm retired but it's pretty safe to say.''
       
Ohno has not competed since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics but has continued training to give himself the option of trying to make the United States team for Russia.
       
He still has time with the U.S. team for Sochi yet to be picked but, after weighing his options, said he had finally made up his mind to go as a broadcaster instead.
       
"In the back of my head I had reservations about saying yes or no because I am a competitor, I am an athlete,'' he said. "I love to compete and I love to train and I love the lifestyle of an Olympic athlete and I love what it means to call yourself an Olympic athlete.
       
''But there comes a time in every single man and woman's life where you are able to be happy about your existing career," he said. "And I've accomplished all my goals."
       
An icon of his sport with his trademark bandana and goatee, the 30-year-old Ohno retires with eight Olympic medals, one more than retired speed skater Bonnie Blair.
       
Ohno won gold in the 1,500-meter final at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games as well as silver in the 1,000m when he was involved in a mass pileup.
       
He won three medals, including gold in the 500, at the 2006 Turin Olympics then another three medals, a silver and two bronze, at Vancouver, just north of Seattle, where he grew up.

Health Condition

He has forged a career in television, as a winning competitor on ''Dancing with the Stars," and now as host of his own game show, but has recently taken on a new role, as the public face for a major campaign on a health condition he had long kept secret.
       
Throughout most of his career, Ohno battled exercise-induced bronchospasm or EIB, a condition that makes it hard to breathe, but he kept his illness to himself.
       
He was obliged, under the Olympics tough doping regulations, to disclose medications he was using and that he was suffering from EIB but he never spoke about his condition, until now, when he agreed to join forces with Teva Respiratory on a national awareness campaign.
       
''I didn't speak about it all," he said. ''First of all, I didn't know many people had exercise-induced bronchospasm. And secondly, I wasn't comfortable at the time talking about it.  As an athlete you're taught to show no weaknesses ... like there's an invisible shield around you.''
       
With his career now over, Ohno said he was comfortable opening up about the condition, which he said had no impact on his performance once he was diagnosed and he began treatment.
       
"I had one of the most severe cases of EIB but immediately after I began treatment, I noticed a huge difference in my performance and I felt like I was competing on a level playing field.''

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs