Apolo Anton Ohno

Apolo Ohno ready for short track analyst debut at Olympic trials

Leave a comment

Apolo Ohno has a simple goal as he ventures into commentating.

“Hopefully, I can bring a little bit of an inside perspective given my previous history in the sport,” he said.

That likely won’t be a problem.

Ohno, the most decorated Olympic skater and U.S. Winter Olympian of all time with eight medals, will call the action rather than taking part in it for the first time this weekend.

Ohno signed on to be NBC Olympics’ short track speed skating analyst for Sochi after retiring last year. He’ll get his feet wet at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Kearns, Utah, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Friday on NBCSN and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra (full trials schedule here).

The 31-year-old is well prepared.

He already has TV credentials from winning “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, serving as an NBC Olympics reporter at the 2012 London Games and hosting the game show “Minute to Win It” earlier this year.

Ohno did more homework, talking to Ted Robinson, the NBC Olympics short track play-by-play voice in 2002, 2006 and 2010, and Dan Jansen, the long track analyst at the last three Winter Games.

He also went into the archives, watching Olympic short track action from as far back as 1992, its debut as an official Olympic sport.

“Just to refresh my memory,” Ohno said, “and get that different perspective from being on the other side of the camera.”

What was short track coverage like 20 years ago?

“Minimal,” Ohno said. “The analysts, it was their first time ever seeing the sport. They were as much in the dark as anyone watching. The sport was still growing. The speeds weren’t as high as today. The equipment wasn’t the same.”

Ohno had a laser focus during his three Olympic Games and hopes to delve into the mental side of the sport.

“What goes into the mind of an athlete, four years of training and now trying to perform and gain their place on the Olympic team,” Ohno said. “What goes on in the psyche and the last moments before the final.”

The technical side won’t be lost, though. Ohno said the most popular questions he was asked by fans during his career — outside of “Aren’t you that dancer guy?” — were about equipment, technique and the ability to stay upright while bending his body on race turns.

But avoiding jargon and confusion is key, something he’s learned from watching Cris Collinsworth and Ato Boldon in other sports.

Ohno goes into his first short track meet as an analyst with no fears. He also has no desire to jump back on the ice, even though he felt that competitive itch watching Michael Phelps swim in London.

“I would be lying if I did say that I didn’t miss training and competing and being at the top of my game,” Ohno said. “I actually got so excited [in London] that I thought about coming back and competing in ’14. But I think I made the right decision.”

Mexican skier to be second oldest Winter Olympian ever

Elaine Thompson runs 200 meters to win 100m in Lausanne

Elaine Thompson
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Elaine Thompson won a 100m at her first meet since sweeping the Olympic sprints, but she actually raced about 200 meters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Thompson, who won the 100m and 200m in her Olympic debut in Rio, was one of seven runners in an eight-woman 100m field in Lausanne who did not react to a second gun indicating a false start.

So Thompson and others had to trudge back from the finish line to the start in order to re-run the race.

About nine minutes after the false start, Thompson won the 100m in 10.78 seconds (video here), a bit slower than her national record-matching 10.70 from the Jamaican Olympic Trials and her 10.71 from the Rio Games.

“There was a mix up at the start,” Thompson said, according to the IAAF. “To be able to produce 10.79 [sic] on second attempt, it’s a great time.”

Neither of the other Rio Olympic 100m medalists — Tori Bowie or Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — was in the Lausanne field.

Untested, Thompson won by one-third of a second over American Jenna Prandini.

Full Lausanne results are here.

In other events Thursday, former world-record holder Asafa Powell won the 100m in 9.96 seconds against a field that didn’t include Rio medalists Usain BoltJustin Gatlin or Andre De Grasse. Powell, 33, broke 10 seconds for a record 97th time, according to the IAAF.

Rio bronze medalist LaShawn Merritt won a 400m in 44.50 against a field that did not include the Olympic gold and silver medalists Wayde van Niekerk and Kirani James. Van Niekerk won the Olympic title in a world record 43.03.

Keni Harrison, who missed the U.S. Olympic team but broke the 100m hurdles world record July 22, won the Lausanne 100m hurdles in 12.42 seconds. The field did not include the Americans who swept the Olympic podium — Brianna RollinsNia Ali and Kristi Castlin.

Harrison’s time Thursday would have won the Rio Olympics and was well short of her world record of 12.20.

“I’m a bit rusty because I haven’t competed for a few weeks with not being in Rio,” Harrison said.

American Dalilah Muhammad followed her Olympic 400m hurdles title with her second straight Diamond League race victory, clocking 53.78 in Lausanne.

Cuban-born Spaniard Orlando Ortega upset Olympic champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica in the 110m hurdles, winning by one hundredth of a second in 13.11. Ortega took silver behind McLeod in Rio.

In the shot put, New Zealand’s Valerie Adams topped Michelle Carter also had a reversal of their Rio Olympic one-two. Adams, the 2012 Olympic champion, threw 19.94 meters in Lausanne, while Carter recorded 19.49 meters.

Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks equaled his personal best with a 5.92-meter clearance to win the pole vault over world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie. Surprise Olympic champion Thiago Braz da Silva of Brazil wasn’t in the Lausanne field.

The Diamond League continues in Paris on Saturday.

VIDEO: Top track and field moments of Rio Olympics

Ryan Lochte to be summoned to criminal hearing in Rio, NBC News reports

Ryan Lochte
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ryan Lochte will be summoned to attend a criminal hearing in Brazil regarding his Rio de Janeiro gas station incident from Aug. 14, according to NBC News.

“A formal summons is expected to be sent to the U.S. asking for help in bringing Lochte to Brazil. If Lochte does not show up, the process, we’re told, will continue, where he could be charged by the public prosecutor and likely convicted in Brazil,” was reported on MSNBC on Thursday.

Lochte has said he “over-exaggerated” his original story that a gun was pointed at his head during a robbery at a gas station.

Lochte’s full interview with Matt Lauer that aired during NBC’s Olympic coverage last weekend is here.

MORE: Lochte loses sponsors after gas station incident