John Curley shares an Olympic story from 2002 with local star Apolo Ohno

Feb 23, 2022, 2:23 PM
Apolo Anton Ohno of the USA leads his team to a win in the men's 5000m speed skating relay semi-finals during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. (Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
(Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Eight-time short track speed skating Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno, who is from Washington, recently voiced an audiobook about the Wim Hof Method — which KIRO Newsradio host John Curley practices.

Ohno now gives speeches about his career, about the Wim Hof Method, and has a new book out called “Hard Pivot: Embrace Change. Find Purpose. Show Up Fully.”

Listen to the full interview with Apolo Ohno:

‘The contagiousness of kindness’ is real, says John Curley

Ohno and John have known each other since the 2002 Olympics, when John was covering the games for KING 5 in Salt Lake City. But now, 20 years later, John got to share a story about something he did at those games that Ohno had not heard.

“I bought a bunch, about $200 worth of brown fur from JoAnn Fabrics, and I was up for seven hours straight cutting 3,000 little soul patches with double-stick tape on them,” John said.

At the time, in 2002, Ohno had a soul patch — but he has since shaved.

“We were told there would be no signs, no flags, no posters, nothing, … so I made these things,” John said about the stick-on soul patches and what was allowed in the arena. “I get to the skating arena, you’re probably going to skate in about three hours, I’m standing there with a garbage bag, handing them out, and this guy with an M16 walks up, goes, ‘Give me the bag.'”

“I go, ‘Oh my god, please, look at my hands, I’ve been up all night making these,'” John recalls. “… He takes the bag, walks away with the bag, and goes on the other side of the metal detector.”

“I don’t think Apolo has ever heard this story,” John noted before continuing. “… Everybody that came through the metal detector, he’d say, ‘American? U.S.?'”

If the person said yes, he’d ask them to put out their hand and he’d “slap a soul patch on their hand.”

“So then that night, when you were standing there on the line to start, that’s why all those soul patches were on all those people in the stadium because that guy had taken the bag from me and basically just intimidated everybody to have them on,” John said.

Ohno told John that story made his day.

“That’s incredible,” he said.

Listen to John Curley and Shari Elliker weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

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John Curley shares an Olympic story from 2002 with local star Apolo Ohno