Apolo Ohno Doesn't Skate

Q&A With Olympian and Hershey's Gold Spokesman

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Apolo Ohno
Apolo Ohno Credit: The Hershey Company

Apolo Ohno, eight-time Olympic medalist in short track speed skating (and one-time winner of the "Dancing with the Stars" mirror-ball trophy), talks about social media, blockchain and more. This conversation has been edited.

How does your competitive drive push you now?

I struggled trying to find the same passion outside of sport. The reality is, it's never going to be the same.

What's your focus now?

I work with NBC on all different Olympics broadcasts. I have other businesses, ventures and pursuits, but my heart is always with the Olympic space.

What do you think of social media's influence on competitive sports?

It takes a lot for people to pay attention when an athlete, like Simone Biles, does something spectacular, because there's so much noise. In my first Olympic Games I had blinders on. I didn't have to worry about anything else. The only person capturing my race was NBC's camera.

What other business ventures are you involved with?

One is blockchain technology. I love tech and blockchain's revolutionary. I would go so far as to say it's the greatest invention since the internet—it radically transforms the way that we transact value. In five years, every single person will be using some form of digital currency or cryptocurrency, and everyone will be utilizing blockchain.

Why?

Blockchain technology helps advertisers, it helps brands. In five years, they could put this Hershey's Gold bar as a digital object on somebody's Facebook page, and they can grab it and have 3-D versions, enhance the digital experience in a way that doesn't exist now. You can target people around the world with a discount coupon code, they can scan it, then go into a store and redeem it. It democratizes the way that you utilize funds for a marketing campaign. You get real-world feedback you can target, and can eliminate some of the ancillary people putting their hands in the money pot.

What's your media consumption like?

For big stuff, like the Olympics, I love to watch on a big screen. But otherwise, it's almost entirely mobile. I love Instagram and Twitter. Facebook is coming back strong. And Snap, sometimes.

Do you still skate?

I don't, no. I'd like to take my girlfriend skating, though. I haven't taken her yet. That would be fun.

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