If you have watched any of the Winter Olympics, you've likely seen Apolo Ohno's father Yuki alone in the stands, cheering on his son. Yuki looks thrilled, but kind of lonely, too. There are no family members, friends or significant others by his side. Ohno's mother has been notably absent. This hasn't gone unnoticed by viewers, according to sportsyahoo.com.
Yuki is a single dad who raised Apolo, an only child, from a young age when his mother took off. I watched a TV interview with Apolo and he talked about how much his dad had given up for him to be an Olympic athlete. It's a great single father success story that's gotten lots of ink on the blogs. (I enjoyed this one on Ramblings of a Single Dad)But it's also the story of a dad, a hairstylist, who worked long hours to make ends meet and then made his entire personal life about his son. Apparently, Yuki would work long days in a small salon, then drive hundreds of miles to bring a young Apolo to rollerblading competitions. We've heard of stage moms but we don't hear a lot about dads who devote their entire lives outside of work, or who make it their work, to make their kid a star.
Writes Beth Harris for the AP. "Working as a hairstylist, he raised Ohno alone after the boy’s mother left early on. Not an easy task, either, with Ohno describing himself as 'a kid who had a lot of energy and was out of control a lot of times.' Their bond is more friendship than parent-child these days, with Ohno turning to his father for advice about everything in his life."
With Apolo now a huge winner at the 2010 Winter Olympics this father/son story is one with a happy ending. But is it? Should a parent be completely devoted to the life of their adult child? Of course all parents feel elated when our children reach their dreams, their goals. Most of us get tremendous joy from our kids. But is it crazy to want more for Yuki? Do you think it's okay for parents to make their entire lives about their children? I know plenty of parents who do it. Yuki sure looks happy in the stands. But what happens when Apolo skates after all those big opportunities that lie ahead? When I look at Yuki sitting alone I can't help but feel a little sad.