NBC loves panning its cameras to the Olympic athletes' families as they watch their loved ones compete. At the Vancouver Games, Apolo Anton Ohno's father, Yuki, has been shown numerous times, cheering on his son. However, Ohno's mother has been notably absent.
This hasn't gone unnoticed by viewers. Web searches on "apolo anton ohno mom" and "apolo ohno mother" have both surged into breakout status this past week. Also buzzing in the Yahoo! Search box: "Who is apolo anton ohno's mom?"
According to The New York Times, Ohno's father won custody of his son when Apolo was just an infant. A recent article from the AP explains that Yuki raised Apolo alone, "after the boy's mother" – Jerrie Lee – "left early on." A 1998 item from The Seattle Times said, "Except for a few photographs, Apolo has never seen his mother." A 2002 article from Sports Illustrated reported that Ohno had "no interest in learning more about her."
While Ohno has no contact with his mother, the bond he shares with his father is apparently unbreakable. Numerous articles and blogs describe a deep friendship and mutual respect. A story from "Good Morning America" explains that the relationship wasn't always so good. As a teen, Apolo ran with a rough crowd, Sports Illustrated said in 2002. And, odd as it sounds, Ohno initially didn't want to be a speedskater.
Flash-forward to 2010: Ohno has seven Winter Olympic medals to his name – and with two more short-track speedskating events to compete in, he may stand on the podium a couple more times. And that means we'll be seeing a lot more shots of his father in the stands, cheering him on.
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