Last night outside our flagship store in Downtown Seattle, retired speed skater Apolo Ohno—the most decorated US Winter Olympian of all time—joined the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Ken Griffey, Jr., Bill Gates, and other highly esteemed Northwest natives, receiving his own plaque on our ‘Seattle Walk of Fame.’
While other plaques on the sidewalk surrounding our store depict imprints of our Walk-of-Famers’ shoes (a nod to Nordstrom’s origins as a shoe store), Ohno’s captures the motion of his ice-slicing skates:
Having won eight medals over the course of three Olympics, Ohno’s no stranger to high honors—nor avid fans, as was apparent from his easy demeanor in greeting an adoring public following the brief induction ceremony (which was hosted by none other than Pete Nordstrom, pictured up top on the left).
Before reading our exclusive Q&A below, check out a video of Ohno in action, gliding for Gold in a 1000-meter showdown decided by milliseconds. Come February, you can catch him in action again at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia—this time as an analyst with NBC Sports.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Having grown up here in Seattle, do you have memories of Nordstrom?
APOLO OHNO: “I have many memories of Nordstrom. My dad used to take me here shopping growing up, back-to-school stuff—and I shop at Nordstrom now. So it’s always been a part of my life. To know that it’s a Seattle-based company is awesome.”
MSD: What does it mean to be immortalized outside our flagship Seattle store?
APOLO OHNO: “It’s an honor, it really is. We have so many international tourists come through our great city all the time, and they see these people, and these footsteps. Some really amazing people have been cemented forever in history here, so for me to be named next to them—it’s an honor.”
[Ohno mingled with fans young and old after the unveiling.
Cool Quiksilver shirt, kid.]
MSD: You’ve accomplished a lot of amazing things in your life. What would you say has been your proudest moment?
APOLO OHNO: “The Olympic space, for me, is one that has always touched my heart, because it was the one single focus of my life for 15 years straight. It’d have to be the Olympic Games.”
MSD: As far as fitness and exercise—what training advice do you have for average guys at home?
APOLO OHNO: “Stick to the circuit training. Leave the slow cardio alone. We all don’t have a lot of time—I’d say on average, most of us have an hour or less in the gym. So just hit it hard. Always change up your routine, keep it fresh, keep it fun—and always challenge yourself.”
[How dapper is Ohno’s dad (center)?]
MSD: What are some of your personal style essentials (besides a skin-tight bodysuit)?
APOLO OHNO: “You always have to have a good jacket—a sports jacket, that fits—no matter what. You have to have a nice pair of shoes. Jeans and pants for me are always difficult, because my legs are so big—so they’re tight, even when they’re supposed to be baggy.” [Shop special sizes: Big & Tall]
[One of many surprised passersby.]
MSD: What’s your favorite thing about hosting the GSN game show Minute to Win It?
APOLO OHNO: “On Minute to Win It, the number-one thing is, I get to see people win real money. And the excitement you see, and the stories you hear about how that money’s going to change their life, or what they’re going to put it towards, are pretty amazing. We’ve seen people get married, we’ve had people want to put money towards a charity in memory of their brother, we’ve had ex-military people who served our country—there’s really an incredible array of stories on the show. So I’ve gotten to meet some really amazing people.
MSD: What are you most looking forward to at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia—where you’ll be breaking down the action as a member of NBC’s broadcast team?
APOLO OHNO: “In 2014, I’m looking forward to short-track [skating]. All the speed skating events, that’s my favorite. I mean, I also love downhill events and skiing, but short-track, to me, is the ultimate. I’ll be there, every single day.”
[Our blog editor, asking the tough questions.]
MSD: You’re the most decorated Winter Olympian in US history. What advice do you have on being a gracious winner—and on your approach to life and work in general?
APOLO OHNO: “I definitely haven’t won every single race—so I know what it feels like when you don’t win, and I know what it feels like when you do. And I think you appreciate it that much more. I lived in a sport where you’re not guaranteed to win every single time, no matter how good you are. So when you do, and those medals get hung around your neck, it feels pretty amazing. And towards life? I’d say: Work hard, play hard, and just enjoy every single step of the way.”
[A plaque on the wall outside our flagship store, shedding light
on the ‘Seattle Walk of Fame’ installation.]
[A few of Ohno’s fellow Seattle Walk of Fame alums. Clockwise from top left:
Jimi Hendrix, Mariners legend Ken Griffey, Jr., Microsoft’s Paul Allen and Bill Gates, NBA great and former SuperSonic Lenny Wilkens.]
Special thanks to Apolo Ohno.
Follow him on Twitter here.
[Photos by Jeff Powell. Interview and first photo by Justin Abbott.]