"There's no comparison; I trained in skating for 10 years of my life," said Ohno in the May 28 issue of OK!.
While Dancing with the Stars' other fourth season celebrity participants had to take time from their busy schedules to compete on the show, it could be said that Ohno had the most to lose, as he's currently in the early stages of training to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. When the opportunity arose to appear on Dancing with the Stars, Ohno said he called a few friends as well as his father to gage their thoughts on the subject.
"I got a lot of flack initially, but I decided I wanted to do it," he told OK!. "It's a big challenge for me, totally out of my realm. I wanted to try and see how long I could go."
Unlike Dancing with the Stars fourth season runner-up Joey Fatone -- who knew how to cut a rug from his days as a member of N Sync -- Ohno said he had no previous dancing experience... sort of.
"When I was younger, I thought I could break-dance. Thought!" he told OK!. "Ballroom dancing and Latin dancing - there are so many differences than the dancing you see at a house party or at a club."
Some may have seen Ohno's athletic ability to pummel opponents in speed skating as a plus, but he said his experience in the sport was actually a hindrance at times.
"I think I bring a lot of bad habits to the table from my sport," he told OK!. "I skate rounded forward, and everything in the ballroom is in a big frame. It doesn't even feel good. I'm not used to the steps. But... I have the mental discipline."
As important as it was, Ohno said his desire to win and athleticism could only carry him so far.
"[Hough kept] telling me, 'You've got to own the stage,'" he told OK! about the support he received from his 18-year-old professional dance partner. "I've been forced to go into a little bit of an acting mode. What works best for me is getting into character before I get on stage, so maybe like five, 10 minutes before, I start changing into that person I'm trying to portray."
Ohno's ability to prove that his popularity goes beyond the Olympics and speed skating is a plus, and he said because of it, fans may not have seen the last of him as an entertainer.
"There are some really cool doors that have opened for me because of the show that I never thought possible," he told the New York Post last Thursday. "We're looking to see what's the right fit... there are a lot of things to work on in film and TV. We had discussions before [Dancing with the Stars] about doing other things, but this definitely gave it a little boost... It shows that I can be more of an entertainer and that I'm very comfortable on TV. I could be that crossover [personality]."
(Photo credit ABC)
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