Apolo Ohno

193: Competition, Olympic Greatness, and Transitions

This week’s conversation is with Apolo Anton-Ohno, an eight time Winter Olympics Medalist and a flat out legend in short track speed skating.

With two gold, two silver, and four bronze medals, Apolo is the most decorated American Olympian at the Winter Olympics.

Apolo remains involved in the Olympic movement as an ambassador to the Olympic Games, the Special Olympics, and also serves as a broadcaster for NBC.

In addition, he is on the 2026/2030 Winter Olympic bid committee for Salt Lake City, Utah & involved with the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Apolo is also a New York Times best-selling author.

He’s currently writing a new book on his transition from the Olympic spotlight into “real life,” covering his challenges, failures, and triumphs.

And we definitely touch on transition in this conversation.

Apolo is a dominant competitor and we unpack where that came from, how it played a role in his Olympic success, and how he’s had to adjust in his post-speed skating life.

This is a candid conversation – I think you’ll really appreciate Apolo’s willingness to explore intimate topics and hold nothing back.

“When I was a competitive Olympic athlete, my mental training was the single greatest differentiating tool.”

In This Episode:

  • Why the mind is the biggest competitive advantage in Olympic competition
  • The key to his training for the Games: intention with every activity
  • His strategy for training with pain and embracing that relationship
  • Why he felt more prepared than any competitor when it came time to race
  • Techniques he used to test whether his competitors had the mental fortitude to keep up
  • What he learned from training with Greco and freestyle wrestlers at the Olympic Training Center
  • His self-talk when the going got tough
  • What pain can teach us
  • Why he was so determined to constantly test himself
  • Raised by dad in a single family household and how that shaped him
  • His relationship with failure
  • Struggling with identity issues post-athletic career
  • His meditation practice
  • What he’s still trying to sort out: the impact of never meeting his mother
  • Transitioning from athletics to “real life”… what can athletes do to experience a smoother process?
  • His definition of mastery

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