Olympic champion Ohno trains for biggest challenge yet

Sat Sep 6, 2014 9:02pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Apolo Ohno made a career of frenzied, 40-second bursts around the track so the speedskating champion knows his crusade to join the exclusive Ironman fraternity is daunting.

It is also downright frightening, admits the eight-time Olympic medalist, who will have television cameras documenting his every stride.

Ohno says it is not just the 140.6-mile Ironman combination of swimming, biking and running a marathon that has him on edge, but the punishing conditions he will have to endure.

"Hell yeah," the short track maestro offered with a nervous chuckle when asked if he was uptight about competing in next month's World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

"The reality is, as a human being, there is a little fear in there. I'm thinking, 'Man, I might hit the wall and I might not finish.'"

Ohno, the most decorated American in Winter Olympic history, has clearly been pondering the harsh setting he and some 2,500 other triathletes will encounter on Oct. 11.

"It's a 2.4-mile open water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride in up to 30-40 mph crosswinds, followed by a full marathon, all in one day, in 100-degree heat, 100-percent humidity, running and biking through perhaps 136-degree ambient temperature because of the black lava rocks," he said.

"It's extreme. It's a tough test on the human body. You find out what you can put yourself through."   Continued...

Former Olympic skater Apolo Ohno participates in a panel for "NBC Olympics" during the NBC sessions at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California in this July 27, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Phil McCarten