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Dancing With The Stars

Who Is Apolo Ohno? 5 Things to Know About the DWTS All-Stars

Apolo Anton Ohno is like the short-track speed skating version of Michael Phelps. The eight-time medalist is the most decorated American athlete of the Winter Olympics. Apolo won Dancing With the Stars Season 4 with Julianne Hough and now he's back on Season 15 All-Stars with Karina Smirnoff. Early Vegas reports gave Apolo the best odds to win, which would make him the first two-time DWTS champ. It’s definitely possible. Curious to know more? Here’s some interesting background about one of the most popular, but still somewhat mysterious, athletes of our time.

1. He was raised by his dad
Apolo, now age 30, was raised in Seattle by his Japanese-born father, Yuki Ohno. Apolo wrote about his father's struggle to give him a good life in the touching prologue of his 2010 book, Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday. Yuki told People that Apolo’s name is derived from Greek, “Apo,” meaning steering away from, and “Lo,” meaning “Look out, here he comes.” Apolo's parents divorced when he was an infant, with his mom reportedly leaving before his first birthday. He had no interest in contacting his American mother, Jerrie Lee, growing up. In 2010, he told the Associated Press he understood why his mom hadn't contacted him — he believed she felt it was too late. At the time, he felt he would have to be the one to contact her, and he was considering it. “You think about when is a good time, and if there’s a good time,” he said.

2. He had his face on a plane!
Alaska Airlines, based in Apolo's hometown of Seattle, sponsored him in the 2010 Olympics, even putting a huge picture of him on the side of a special "Follow Apolo" Boeing 737-800. Apolo has done very well with endorsements over the years, signing deals with everyone from Coca-Cola and General Electric to McDonald's, AT&T and Vicks. In 2011, Bloomberg BusinessWeek placed Apolo at #10 on its Power 100 list of the 100 Most Powerful Figures in Sports. That was a big jump from his rank of #64 the previous year, which showed how much of a boost he got from the 2010 Olympics. His earnings on the 2011 list were listed at $1.7 million. Celebrity Net Worth currently as Apolo's net worth at $9 million.

3. He's one of People Magazine's Most Beautiful People
People has honored Apolo a few times. You can check out this cute photo and interview from 2002, then watch him check himself out in this 2009 CNN video where he flips through the issue of People that features him, again, on the beautiful list. He’s also on ESPN’s hottest male athletes list and will probably show up on more lists this year, now that he’s back in headlines.

4. There's a story to the soul patch
When he was 19, Apolo explained his trademark patch to People magazine: "That's the only place hair grows on my face." OK, so it's not the most exciting, heartwarming story, but it does make sense. Some people love Apolo’s trademark chin hair. Others wish he’d get rid of it. He recently joked that he's going to use the soul patch on All-Stars to distract the other contestants.

5. He wants a girl with a good heart, but no cigarettes
Considering how much we know about Michael Phelps' love life — not to mention everyone Ryan Lochte has had a crush on since the Summer Olympics — it's kind of strange to hear so little about Apolo's private life. But it just shows that any celeb who wants to keep things relatively quiet can manage just fine. There were rumors that Apolo and Julianne were more than friends during DWTS Season 4, but Apolo said their relationship was strictly professional. In 2010 the 5’8” single guy told People what he looks for in a girl. "First and foremost," Apolo said, "she has to have a good heart and good intentions. Those are key for me. A girl who appreciates trying new things is always great too." He said he would actually prefer it if his girlfriend wasn't a skater herself. And one thing he really doesn’t want is a smoker. "That's a hands-down deal-breaker," he said. In a different interview that year, Apolo told the Associated Press — reportedly with "a sly grin" — "I'm dating." If he's not in a committed relationship right now, we know his DWTS All-Stars partner, Karina, recently said her love life was very non-existent. They seem to have good chemistry together. We’re not sure if she smokes but, if not, maybe give it a shot?

Sources: Amazon, People, Associated Press, Airline Reporter, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Reality Blurred, Celebrity Net Worth

Gina Carbone is a contributing writer at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @ginacarbone.

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Credit: James Sorensen/ ABC