on September 25, 2002
Anyone who saw this year's Olympics has to be familiar with Apolo Anton Ohno. He emerged as the highest profile athlete of the winter Games. And for good reason...this amazing young man showed the world what class, grace and sportsmanship is. He performed incredibly even after being injured. So it should come as no surprise that he would come across in his book as mature, classy and gracious as well. Mature well beyond his 19 years. Being away from home and more or less on his own since age 14 was bound to make him mature faster...but the sheer beauty of this amazing young man's spirit is something that was born with him. It only became more beautiful as he grew up. Aside from his obvious physical beauty, he is beautiful on the inside as well...and the combination makes for one very special, unequaled human being who also happens to be a talented athlete. This is Apolo's story so far...and it also tells a lot about his father who has done a magnificent job of raising a magnificent young man.This story is supposed to be...and is very much so...an inspiration for kids. But anyone of any age who is a fan of Apolo should read his story. You will not be disappointed.
on November 28, 2011
Apolo Anton Ohno, Olympic-medalist in short tract skating, has written two "volumes" of autobiography: A Journey written in 2002, after the Winter Olympics, when Ohno was 19, and Zero Regrets written in 2010, after the Winter Olympics, when Ohno was 28.
Short track is one of the few sports I have ever enjoyed watching, so I was curious to read what Ohno would write about in his books. Interestingly, and perhaps not unexpectedly, they are not the same, even though the first nineteen years covered the same material.
Thematically, the first book is about how what has always mattered to Ohno was the journey - the training - the road to - not the goals themselves, necessarily. The second book is not as much about the journey but about not having any regrets wherever he ends up.
The first book has more of a staccato writing style - this may be in part due to having different writing partners of each book. There is a journey-istic sense of "getting to what's next." The reader sees Ohno as being intelligent but restless and difficult, strong-headed and talented. No matter what Ohno ends up doing, there is a fight to get there, both inside him and in reality. Ohno credits his single-parent father with much of his success and shows a ferocity towards those who disagree with him or try to stop him from moving in the direction he desires.
The second book is more meditative, more gracious, more thankful for what he has achieved. Although there is no doubt that Ohno continues to be both strong and strong-willed, there is a sense of gratitude that is lacking in the first book. Ohno is more encouraging of his readers and other athletes in the second book, urging all to go forward with "no regrets."
The history of Ohno's father leaving Japan with nothing to come to the US and then raising his only son as a single parent beginning shortly after Ohno's birth is an inspiring one. The dedication that Ohno has to his craft - being the best physically, mentally, and socially, is also inspiring. Ohno seems to be a fiercely loyal friend.
The difference between the two books is not only stylistic and thematic - the histories do not agree in all points. Two glaring differences are in Ohno's not getting on the plane to his first training camp. In the first book, Ohno says his father instinctively knew he had not gotten on the plane, so he tracked him down at a friend's house. In the second book, Ohno's father is completely oblivious until the trainer calls to question why he hasn't shown up - only then does Ohno's father set out on a longer search for his son. Another is the reaction Ohno had to losing a race in 2002 due to a foul which was not called. In the first volume, he is angry, says he was angry, and even calls his opponent names. In the second, though he says he was disappointed, he says he was never angry with his opponent and did not allow it to make him have any regrets.
It was interesting to see at the time of Ohno's confusion about whether to follow short track seriously, he prays "in Jesus' Name," and then, more specifically state din the second book, he went on to follow Eastern philosophy. Both books would have been buffeted by saying more about the specific religious instruction he had, what he believes, and why he has come to adopt the philosophies he has. Even if the answers are largely that he doesn't believe "anything," it would have been instructive to have that information.
Ohno is the most decorated winter Olympian to date, and it will be interesting to see if he races in the 2014 Olympics or retires. He is on the cusp age-wise for the sport, but it seems he has the ability and the mind to continue. Either way, perhaps it will spur a third volume, which will fill in some of the gaps, if not clear up inconsistencies, in the first two volumes.
on September 20, 2002
It isn't easy to write from the heart, but Apolo Ohno has never avoided the hard choices. If it is presumptuous to write an autobiography at 19, Ohno has earned that right...and raises important issues apart from his two Olympic medals. Raised from age one by his Japanese father, Apolo paints an indelible portrait of a true father,a man willing to make unfamiliar sacrifices to provide a home for his child. We who have raised rebellious adolescent sons empathize with Yuki, and share his joy when Apolo successfully negotiates the transition. Apolo minces few words in describing his experiences as a 14 year old novice skater, attempting to negotiate the challenges of a new culture 3,000 miles from his father and friends. More disturbing are his assertions that U.S. Speedskating failed to provide adequate training and oversight for the 15 year old when he initially joined the Senior division Shorttrack team. Equally disturbing are his comments regarding deficiencies in safety and medical care for the young athletes. His performance in light of pre-Olympic injuries is impressive. Generous with praise for many coachs and friends he avoids excessive bitterness toward his foes. Ohno's voice is clear and distinctive and his emotional intimacy a generous gift in light of his experiences. His reflective comments mirror the character that mesmerized audiences during the Olympic games. Without doubt he will indeed "have an extraordinary life..."
on September 20, 2002
Do not miss this book! It is a must have! If you want details about his childhood and teen years - it's here. If you want details about his training - it's here. If you want details about the Olympics - it's here. And if you want nice, juicy, previously untold personal details - it's here, too! No matter what your age, this book is BOTH INFORMATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL. It doesn't get any better than this! Order 2 copies - 1 to read and cherish + 1 to drool on! Buy it now and run to the checkout!!!!
on September 21, 2002
Everyone must read this moving and inspiring book. While Apolo's words are engagingly kid-like and candid, the thoughts, reflections, and insights they describe are brilliant, deep, and soulful, with a wisdom and maturity far beyond his 19 years. The gracious, generous spirit we loved and admired at the 2002 Olympics is in every word of this autobiography--you will smile, you will cry--you will be filled with even greater admiration and even deeper respect for Apolo after reading his Journey.
on September 21, 2002
I love this book. Apolo speaks from his heart. He has overcome downfalls, injuries,and challenges in his journey to become the fastest speedskater ever. But this book is more than a book about a great athlete. This book is about a beautiful person who is mature far beyond his years. I highly recommend this book to people of ALL ages.
on September 19, 2002
Although this book is being marketed for the children's/young adult market, readers of all ages will find much to appreciate in Apolo's continuing journey. What was presented in the media leading up to and during the 2002 Winter Olympics was only a fraction of the story. Reading about his myriad of physical injuries, the psychological and spiritual battle to become an elite athlete and his tumultuous yet ultimately loving relationship with his single father, leaves one with a better understanding of why so many of us were captivated by him during the games. He's had a compelling journey so far - here's hoping that the next leg proves equally rich and rewarding for him. And here's hoping he chooses to share that with us also.
on November 29, 2002
Spare & lean, this young man tells his story with aplomb & humor. Nancy Ann Richardson has not tampered with his way of expressing himself, allowing Apolo Anton Ohno to shine on through.
A JOURNEY is as much a biography of a modern, unassuming hero as it is a tribute to a father's job well done.
A must-read for anyone with a hunger for excellence, & a clue about self-awareness. A splendid read in which we catch glimpses of how one person, with many strikes against him, found something to pull him out of a typical city-bound boyhood, out of the terrible teens, out of obscurity to be the best at what he does.
Apolo Anton Ohno can also add storyteller/author to his accomplishments. Highly recommended.
on October 12, 2002
My best friend and I are possibly the biggest fans ever of apolo anton ohno. he ROCKS (plus, he's really cute AND he's from Seattle!) so when we found out that he was writing an autobiography, we could not wait for it to come out. well, now i have my copy and have read it over and over again. It's beautifully written and so deep! he already has lived an "amazing life", he doesn't need to worry about that! i hope that this will help explain things better and prove what a geat role model he is. BUY IT, PEOPLES! I'M NOT KIDDING!