Sexy speed skater Apolo Ohno shows off his agility, medals and a shopping addiction

By People Staff
May 13, 2002 12:00 PM

It was the most-imitated facial hairdo of the Winter Olympics, but the truth can now be told: Apolo Ohno’s soul patch is more serendipitous than calculated. “That’s the only place hair grows on my face,” admits the 19-year-old gold and silver medalist. His wayward whiskers are about the only thing in his life that lacks discipline. Just five years after a penchant for pizza earned him the nickname Chunky, the 5’8″ Ohno gained focus—in the gym and on the ice—and started winning U.S. and World Cup titles. Now, says U.S. Olympic strength coach Tony Bellofatto, “He’s unstoppable.” Fellow Olympian Michelle Kwan also thinks the gym time paid off. “He has everything a guy represents, strength and power,” the champion skater says. Even his name, derived from the Greek, defines his drive: ” ‘Apo,’ meaning steering away from, and ‘Lo,’ meaning ‘Look out, here he comes,’ ” explains hairstylist father Yuki, 57, who raised Ohno alone in Seattle when his mother left before his first birthday. Yuki still cuts his hair, and Ohno trims his own patch, leaving disposable income for other things. “I love to shop,” he says. “Clothes, electronics, and I love jewelry, especially yellow gold.”