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From Lake Placid to the Olympics- Part One

February 15, 2010 - Christie Sausa
The Olympics have started, and somewhere within all the excitement, we find ourselves wondering about the athlete's backgrounds. How did they come to be one of the best athletes in the World? Where did they train? What training environment made the biggest difference in their careers? Lately I have been finding that the answer to these questions for many athletes can come down to a single answer- Lake Placid.

Many people don't realize how many athlete's training lives eventually converge in Lake Placid, or that their career really started to bloom in the charming Olympic town. Everyone knows about Eric Heiden's gold medals and the fathers of speed skating Charles Jewtraw and Jack Shea, but did you know that Apolo Ohno, Shani Davis, and others lived and trained in Lake Placid at one time? It might be surprising that Apolo (from Seattle), and Shani (from Chicago), found themselves in Lake Placid, but when you consider the training program at the time, it makes sense.

APOLO ANTON OHNO (USA)- Short Track Speed Skater

Apolo Ohno, with his signature soul-patch, charming personality, and very unique name, got his start in speed skating in Vancouver. A resident of Seattle, Ohno (or more accurately, Ohno's dad Yuki) decided to send Apolo to Lake Placid when he was 14 for more dedicated training, including long track. In the years 1996 through 1998, Apolo trained in Lake Placid with a developmental team. He attended Lake Placid High for his freshmen, sophomore, and junior years, and was already "beating everyone" according to some skaters who were training here at the time.

Although resistant at first to the training, Apolo quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the best known speed skaters of all time. He currently has endorsement deals with AT & T, Vicks, Coca-Cola, and Alaska Airlines, to name a few.

Despite being an Olympic athlete, Apolo started to become well-known for another activity- dancing. In 2007, he, along with partner Julianne Hough, became the winner of Dancing with the Stars. Ohno now claims that he is recognized more for his Dancing with the Stars appearance than for his Olympic achievements.

Apolo is currently skating in the 2010 Olympics, and is a medalist in the 2002 and 2006 Games. He currently has 5 Olympic medals, and if he wins more, will be the most decorated male athlete in history.

*If you are interested in following Team USA, visit Team USA News for updates! *


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Apolo celebrates after winning in the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy. Will he walk away from Vancouver with more Olympic gold medals?


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