Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The thin man: Ohno is lighter

Art Thiel, Hearst Newspapers

PST VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Breaking news from Planet Ohno:
Guy's disappearing.
Either that, or he's a black hole, growing more intense by drawing energy from all around him.
Apolo Anton Ohno, one-time Federal Way, Wash., mall rat who stands astride the American team at the Winter Games, said Tuesday that he's the most fit he's ever been entering an Olympics.
Ohno said he's down to 145 pounds with 2.5 percent body fat. That compares with 165 pounds at the 2002 in Salt Lake and 155 pounds in 2006 in Turin, Italy.
"I'm lifting almost double what I did before the World Cup three months ago," he said.
If that weren't enough, he seems to be the coolest dude in the warmest climate ever to host a Winter Games. If he feels any pressure about his opportunity to become the most decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history, there were no visible fissures as he relaxed among his short-track teammates.
"Now, toward the end of my career, I have five Olympic medals, and I've accomplished every single thing I've wanted to do in the sport, in the Olympics and World Cups," he said. "I have a sense of calm. I feel very good with where I'm at. I'm doing this purely because I still love it."
Ohno's medal count (two golds, a silver and two bronzes) ties him with long-track speedskater Eric Heiden and is one short of another skater, Bonnie Blair. Starting with the 1,500-meter race Saturday, he has three individual races plus the team relay to put him in the books.
"Anytime anyone makes a reference to them, two of the greatest Olympians of all time, I'm kind of in awe, or shock, to be mentioned in the same sentence," he said. "I'm very optimistic. I have a killer instinct inside that I try to kind of hold back until Saturday when I let the beast loose."
Snow business: Olympic organizers opened parts of the Cypress Mountain to media, showing off a snow-covered moguls course with a big patches of dirt on either side. The snowboard halfpipe remained off limits.
"All in all, I think we are very positive about how things have come together," said Dick Vollet, the Vancouver organizing committee's head of mountain operations. "We are quite happy with where we are given that we are fighting Mother Nature and sometimes she can be very unforgiving."
Legal injection: The men's Alpine course at Whistler was injected with water. The International Ski Federation ordered the move, allowing the course to better withstand warm weather and rain. Critics, however, contend that courses injected with water can cause more skiers to fall.
The women's course at Whistler was not injected.
While temperatures on the mountain have been hovering around or above freezing in recent days, cooler conditions and snow were expected today, when men's downhill training begins.
When a course is injected, water is forced 1 or 2 feet deep into the snow through tiny nozzles on a high-pressure hose. As cold air seeps in, a layer of hard snow and ice forms. That prevents the slope from deteriorating from use or becoming sloppy in warm weather, rain or falling snow.
No dopes: Vancouver's state-of-the-art doping lab already has tested more than 200 blood and urine samples from Olympic athletes, and there have been no positives.
Dr. Christiane Ayotte, the scientist in charge of the facility, said the new facility at the Richmond Oval aims to process about 2,000 samples - 1,600 urine and about 400-500 blood samples - during the games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Post a Comment