What About Apolo Ohno's Mom?

Many Olympics-themed ads have focused on mothers of Olympians, but not the ones featuring speed skater Apolo Ohno

Have you noticed the Olympics-themed ads that have aired throughout the 2010 Winter Games? Many focus on mothers of Olympians, like this tearjerker for P&G. Perhaps that's why viewers have wondered about the conspicuous absence of another mother throughout NBC's coverage -- speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno's, to be exact. 

"NBC loves panning its cameras to the Olympic athletes' families as they watch their loved ones compete," writes Michael Krumboltz of Yahoo! Sports. "At the Vancouver Games, Apolo Anton Ohno's father, Yuki Ohno, has been shown numerous times, cheering on his son. However, Ohno's mother has been notably absent. This hasn't gone unnoticed by viewers."

Ohno's mother, Jerrie Lee, has actually been absent since the champion skater was very young. "Ohno’s father, Japan-born Yuki, remains a strong presence in his only son’s life," writes Beth Harris for the AP. "Working as a hairstylist, he raised Ohno alone after the boy’s mother left early on. Not an easy task, either, with Ohno describing himself as 'a kid who had a lot of energy and was out of control a lot of times.' Their bond is more friendship than parent-child these days, with Ohno turning to his father for advice about everything in his life."

Ads featuring moms of athletes are so poignant, so good at tugging at our heartstrings, because most sports stars achieve greatness by starting early, training relentlessly for years, with loads of parental support -- and so many champs, when interviewed after a win, express gratitude to their moms. (There's Lindsey Vonn's mom, who scheduled her life for years to accommodate the skier's training; here's a recent Access Hollywood interview with her. And skater Johnny Weir's mom, Patti, has not only been at his side for countless competitions, she also costarred in the Sundance docu-series about her son, Be Good Johnny Weir; here's an interview with both.)

Meanwhile, the breakdown in the marriage of Ohno's parents years ago reportedly doesn't weigh on the U.S. champion's mind at all as he races his events with stunning skill. As spectators, we're all grateful to Ohno's dad: he raised a medal-winning athlete for the record books, one who we're all proud of now.

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Have you wondered about Apolo Ohno's mom when you see media coverage about his dad? Chime in below!


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