Federal Way Public Schools Alumni of Note

Apolo Ohno

Eight-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Speed Skating
Winner, Dancing With the Stars, Season 4

Decatur High School (via Internet Academy)
Graduate, Class of 2000

World renowned speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno has had some great times in his life.  He's won eight Olympic medals and three World Cup titles.  He and his partner were the winners on season four of the ABC series Dancing with the Stars.  But still Ohno considers his days in Federal Way schools to be "the good old days."

Ohno attended Saghalie Middle School and Decatur High School before enrolling in Federal Way's Internet Academy to finish up his high school credits while training for the Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.  He looks fondly back on his time in Federal Way.

"There were many teachers and classes that stood out but more importantly to me it was the experiences starting in junior high that really have stuck with me.  The memories of friends mingling and laughing in the halls of my school is what I often think about," Ohno said.  "I remember having so much energy and fun during my high school and junior high school years." 

Ohno, who most recently won three medals in the 2010 Winter Olympics, said he continues to keep in touch with friends from school in Federal Way.  "With the social networking sites abound on the Internet, it's allowed for constant contact with old friends and classmates from many years ago - and we all talk about those being the 'good ol' days' haha!"

These days Ohno uses the Internet to keep in touch with friends.  In high school, Ohno used the Internet to complete his diploma requirements.  He was one of the first full time Internet Academy students to graduate.  Decatur High School issued his diploma in 2000. 

Internet Academy teacher Wendy Nevin recalled that Ohno did well in his classes, earning mostly As and Bs.  "He was a really good student.  We all really enjoyed having him in class.  He was thoughtful.  He kept a good pace with his homework," Nevin said.  "He seemed to take his work with his school in the same way that he trained - he paid attention and he took it seriously."

The Internet Academy allows students to access the entire curriculum for each of their courses online.  Homework is completed at the student's pace and teachers are available to answer questions via email.  Exams and finals are proctored.  Many Internet Academy students are athletes, musicians or actors who participate in rigorous training and benefit from the flexible study hours the program offers.

Ohno would often complete two weeks of schoolwork in advance so he could take a week off for training, Nevin said. "He was able to be flexible with his school schedule and his racing training to make them both work," she said.  "He used our school in the way it should be used.  He built his classes around his schedule and he completed his work on time."

Ohno said that his experience in Federal Way schools laid an academic foundation for him to pursue a career after the Olympics.  He has considered future careers as a motivational speaker, coach, computer programmer, real estate investor, fitness club proprietor or actor, according to online fan pages.

"Federal Way schools allowed me to be creative and free in the future life decisions that were laid out in front of me.  They didn't necessarily have to do with skating but the things I learned in the classroom and outside the classroom were vital to helping me decide which avenue of career I will choose post Olympic Career," Ohno said.

Ohno offers the following advice to students:  "Live life to the fullest!  Smile, laugh, work hard and stay focused.  Everything starts with a foundation.  The stronger your foundation, the higher you will be able to build."

Apolo Ohno's 7th Grade Photo
Apolo Ohno's 7th grade yearbook photo, Saghalie Middle School, 1994-1995 school year.

Career Highlights:

Olympic Games
2010:  Silver 1500m, Bronze 1000m, Bronze 5000m Relay
2006:  Gold 500m, Bronze 1000m, Bronze 5000m Relay
2002:  Gold 1500m, Silver 1000m

World Championships
2005:  Silver overall, Gold 1000m, Gold 3000m, Bronze 5000m Relay
2004:  9th Overall
2003:  4th Overall, Silver 3000m
2001:  Silver Overall, Silver 1000m, Gold 3000m, Gold 5000m Relay
2000:  9th Overall
1999:  4th Overall, Silver 500m

World Cups
2004/2005 Overall Champion
2002/2003 Overall Champion
2000/2001 Overall Champion

Personal Records
500m:  41.518 - Calgary, CAN - 10/13/03
1000m:  1:25.837 - Marquette, MI, USA - 10/26/03
1500m:  2:11.280 - Marquette, MI, USA - 10/24/03
3000m:  4:32.975 - Beijing, CHN - 12/07/03

( Source: http://www.apoloantonohno.com )