Apolo Anton Ohno, one of the most famous U.S. Winter Olympics athletes, won’t be competing in Sochi because he’s retired.
Ohno, 31, closed the door on a comeback for the Olympics early last year, when he officially announced his retirement.
“I never wanted to officially announce a retirement, never felt I needed to. It works for some people. For me my goal was to be as busy as possible, to make sure my transition after competition went well. I’ve been blessed to have success off the ice,” he told USA Today at the time.
“I never really mentioned (retirement). It’s less than 12 months from the Olympic Games so I thought people would catch on. For me it was pretty much common sense. An Olympic pursuit really takes a full three to four years of Olympic preparation.”
Ohno’s career was illustrious. In three Olympic appearances, he earned two gold medals, two silver medals, and four bronze medals. He also won 21 World Championship medals.
Paul Newberry of the Associated Press wrote in an analysis that Ohno’s absence “leaves a void” in the short track speedskating.
“It is hard to envision it being as much fun in Sochi, Russia, as it was during the past three Olympics, now that the guy with the soul patch is working from a broadcast booth rather than darting around the ice,” wrote Newberry.
“He was dynamic, scooting past rivals in the blink of an eye. He was fearless, willing to throw his body into a sliver of an opening no one else could see. He was charismatic, with a bandanna on his head, a stylish wisp of hair beneath his lip, and a name that implied greatness. He was, quite simply, the best, stepping onto the medal podium more than any other U.S. Winter Olympian.”