Apolo Ohno & Josh Harris. A good pairing to reach a common goal?

Yesterday, I almost posted on the blog on an article I read that moved me so deeply, I just felt a need to share – even though it had absolutely diddly-squat to do with ST speedskating.

When lo and behold, a google alert appeared today about Apolo that touched on the same things – sort of – ….which got me thinking about it again, and kinda allows me to take my (obviously) random brain firings and free form word associations and somehow link them together into one cohesive thought…and a point I would really like to make.

So here’s part one (note the italicized sentence):


Apolo Ohno and Yuki Ohno In conjunction with the Century Council and their Ask, Listen, Learn program discuss the importance of role models in saying yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to underage drinking while we celebrate fathers day across the country.

The Favorites Game: Apolo Anton Ohno Goes Full Circle

By: Interview by Kristin Clarke, CAE

An Olympic gold medalist shares his favorite winning strategy and more.
Since winning a record eight Olympic medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics, speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno has been moving fast into the nonprofit and corporate worlds. Not only has he been building his nutritional supplements company, 8Zone, and writing a “life lessons” book (out this fall), but he also has been touring schools as an anti-underage-drinking spokesperson and preparing to launch his self-named foundation to promote healthy lifestyles, especially to teenagers.

Despite the draw of sedentary video games or Facebook, Ohno doesn’t think he’s on thin ice when it comes to convincing children about “making the right type of healthy, active lifestyle decisions in their lives … becoming more comfortable in their own skin and understanding the directions they can go in and be who they want to be.

“I’d like to be doing this foundation 20, 30 years down the road, and I think I can,” he says. “It’s a good fit for me. … It all comes full circle.”

Kristin Clarke, CAE, is a writer, editor, and researcher for ASAE & The Center. Email: kclarke@asaecenter.org


So let me ‘splain about Part Two:

I confess freely, I am completely addicted to Discovery Channels’ ‘Deadliest Catch’ I spent a summer working in Alaska at a remote area that catered to rich folk who came up to catch those humongous King Salmon. (I even caught a 30 lb-er myself…but believe me, it was with help! That big, fat boy fought me for a good 40 minutes at least before I landed him). Anyway, as a result, whenever there is anything about Alaska on TV, I am drawn to tune in.

As many of you may know, Captain Phil Harris, who was the skipper of the F/V Cornelia Marie passed away from complications from a major stroke and blood clots, much of it attributed to his lifestyle and heavy smoking. (The current episodes are now focusing on those events) As a follower of the show, even though I have never personally met the guy, I felt sadness for his loss, and even more so for his two sons, Josh & Jake, who worked the ship with him. Capt. Phil had a wry sense of humor that always gave me a chuckle, and he will be sorely missed when the show continues its journey without him.

So what’s that got to do with Apolo, Short track…or much of anything?

Well, here’s Part Two. The article that moved me in the first place (note the italicized sentence in this article):


Deadliest Catch‘s Josh Harris Cried Watching Dad’s Last Days
June 25, 2010

Jake Harris, Captain Phil Harris and Josh Harris.

A record 5.4 million viewers tuned in Tuesday to Discovery’s crab-fishing reality show Deadliest Catch to see the start of a mournful journey for the family and crew of the “Cornelia Marie.” It was the first of several episodes to chronicle the Jan. 29 stroke and Feb. 9 death of Captain Phil Harris, 53.

“Seeing it all happen again, it freaks me out a little bit,” Harris’s eldest son, Josh, tells PEOPLE. “I can’t tell you how many people just sat there, crying, when we watched this in the bar. I had already seen the footage and I started crying again.”

It’s been a time of transition for Josh, 27, and Jake, 24, as they settle their dad’s affairs and move on with their lives. For the eldest son, “I am going to take care of my family and the six companies that my dad started,” Josh says, “like the coffee company. That was one of his pride and joys, so I’ve got to take that over, along with the boat, and all his endorsements he had.”

The sons are looking to buy their dad’s fishing vessel, the “Cornelia Marie,” outright. “I will try to get it back up and running at full strength, and be the full owner, and my guys can keep their jobs,” Josh says. “I will achieve my goals. One way or another, it will happen. There is no failure in a fisherman.”

For Jake, mourning his dad’s passing has been a tougher challenge. As viewers witnessed this season, Jake had come clean to his father about his drug addiction. “You got to go to treatment, man,” Harris told his son. “At least you’ll have a fighting chance.” The two embraced with Jake, saying quietly, “‘I love you, Pops.’” Then, not long after Harris’s death, Jake was charged with reckless driving.

Josh says his brother has since moved closer to him and is getting better. “He just went through rehab and everything is going real good,” Josh says. “I have my brother back in some aspects. It’s still a battle, though, but we talk about things a lot, decide things together, and he’s thinking a lot more clear-minded.”

While Jake is away fishing at the moment, Josh is trying his best to quit smoking with the help of electronic cigarettes. “It’s one of the hardest battles of my life,” Josh admits. “It’s even harder of a battle than fighting the Bering Sea. But I’m on a wellness kick now, going around the U.S. and promoting health.”

But, come October, Josh and Jake fully expect to be fishing and paying their last tribute to their father. “Yes, we will be releasing the rest of him back into the area where he spent the majority of his life, which is the Bering Sea,” Josh says of their dad’s ashes. “It will be a rough time, but we’ll finally let the rest of him go.” –Cynthia Wang

by David Yellen


So, what in the heck could Apolo Anton Ohno, an Olympic short track speedskater, and Josh Harris, a Bering Sea crab fisherman possibly have in common you might ask? Well, I guess you could make the argument that they both work in cold, icy conditions. Certainly they both require brutally hard work and a driven dedication to their jobs that would kill us lesser mortals. Past that, certainly no one could make the argument that crab fishermen live a healthy lifestyle. While Olympic athletes are all about health and fitness.

What I admire, is that they are both promoting the importance of personal choices in regards to our own personal health and betterment.

Apolo lives it, he has for many years. Josh on the other hand, out of personal tragedy over the loss of his father, is choosing to do something positive out of it – not only for himself, but by spreading the word to others. Apolo speaks against underage drinking, Josh against smoking.

And I guess it is the latter that strikes a deeply personal chord.

My grandmother vowed to smoke until the day she died…and she did – literally. (although the argument could be made she smoked until the ‘minute’ she died.) After she was found dead from a heart attack, she still had – I kid you not – a cigarette in her hand. Seriously!
That doesn’t paint a very pretty picture, now does it? It’s also amazing the house didn’t burn down after her.

My dad smokes. He’s quit off and on, and after two heart attacks, we thought it was for good. Unfortunately, smoking must be horribly addictive, as he still lights up from time to time. He thinks he is hiding it from my mom when he wanders off for a smoke, but of course, he fools no one.

Like for my family and even some friends, the smoking habit is hard to break. I have watched the other captains on Deadliest Catch try to slay this beast, with mixed results. Well, let’s call a spade a spade. They either ‘chew’ or smoke like chimneys! I did notice Edgar Hansen hasn’t had a cigarette in his mouth all season. Kudos to you Edgar! That is one tough dragon to slay. Congratulations.

The rest of us have our own shortcomings and equally difficult demons. I confess to liking a glass of wine with dinner on occasion, and I will snork down a Margarita or Pina Colada from time to time, but alcohol isn’t where my weaknesses lie. I’ve NEVER had the desire to put anything that’s on fire and billowing smoke in my mouth- and I don’t like being around it either. But I am, straight up, a full blown, jonesin’ for a fix, sugarholic. No doubt about it, I’m an addict. Cookies, Cake, Candy, Pie, Ice Cream, Chocolate in any form, you name it…hey, I like it, it’s all good. Except for my body fat index. That ain’t so good…

So what’s my point really? Well, that both of these young men inspire me. Apolo inspires me to get off my ass and work out consistently, eat more healthy and research and ingest better supplements (instead of the cheapo stuff I’ve been taking that you just pee right out – do not pass go, do not pick up any viable nutrients. Although 8zone wasn’t the best option for me, and is a bit cost prohibitive at the moment, it at least got me thinking about it)

Josh inspires me because he experienced something tragic, and vowed to make a change in his own life because of it- and then spread the word to others. And because I understand the struggle. If he wants a smoke anywhere NEAR as bad as I want a sweet, sugar and carb loaded goodie right now, I know it’s taking every strength of willpower to resist.

But my biggest point is, I think these two should get together and have a chat. Join forces, if you will. They both come from vastly different backgrounds, lifestyles and struggles. But they both have the same message:

Take better care of yourselves.

Read more about it:

F/V Cornelia Marie

Discovery Channel – Deadliest Catch

Apolo’s official site:

8 Zone

The Century Council

2 Responses to Apolo Ohno & Josh Harris. A good pairing to reach a common goal?

  1. I for one, think it’s a great pairing! Keep up the good writing! -Morgan


  2. Thank you Morgan – and back ya! I’ve enjoyed your posts immensely.


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