SEATTLE -- Apolo Anton Ohno calls from a bus during his supposed down time. He's in North Carolina, on his way from a book signing in Raleigh to another one in Charlotte. This call is just one of many he'll make during the nearly three-hour drive.
His life is forever as frenzied as a short-track race.
"I'm lying down right now," he says, although he sounds quite animated. "I'm tired. But that's OK."
The legendary Olympian from Federal Way, Wash., is in the middle of an eight-day, 20-city tour to promote his new book, "Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday." It has been more than eight months since Ohno collected three medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics to set an American standard with eight career medals at the Cold Weather Games.
In his latest Olympic afterlife, the 28-year-old says he hasn't slept in one place for more than three consecutive nights. He has traveled the world pursuing his non-sporting passions, including speaking to as many schools and corporations as his schedule allows, selling his own nutritional supplements (8zone), teaming with the Century Council (which is sponsoring his tour) to fight drunken driving and underage drinking, and auditioning for film and television acting roles. He even made a guest appearance recently on "Dancing With the Stars," the reality show he won three years ago.
Most Olympians, even great ones like Ohno, drift from public consciousness about this time. But he's doing everything he can to stay relevant.
"I'm very happy with life, but I'm always striving for more," says Ohno, who will appear at Costco in Federal Way at 1 p.m. PST on Sunday for a book signing. "My schedule, it's been insane, but I'm all about stretching the limits mentally and physically. I live for these challenges, to try to get better, to make sure I'm getting the most out of my life."
No wonder his book is entitled "Zero Regrets."
Ohno wrote it with the help of former Los Angeles Times writer Alan Abrahamson. They began working on the book as soon as the Vancouver Games ended, but it doesn't read like a narrative thrown together in eight months. It's a thoughtful, emotional, revealing look at Ohno's drive to athletic fame. And it's a touching tribute to his father, Yuki, who harnessed Apolo's talent and developed his mental edge.
After the book's prologue praises Yuki and establishes a strive-for-the-best theme, the first chapter hooks you because Apolo talks for the first time about his mother.
He has never answered questions about her during interviews, but in the first section of "Zero Regrets," he writes about moments of being curious about her. He only knows that her name is Jerrie Lee, that she was adopted, that she's younger than his dad and that the parents split up when Apolo was a baby. But just when Apolo piques your curiosity, he trails off, ending those reflections by saying he doesn't feel shortchanged, because of Yuki's wonderful parenting.
Ohno doesn't bleed in this book as much as he pokes at old wounds, only to show he chooses to ignore the pain and focus instead on the positive, no-regrets attitude that makes him such an endearing star athlete.
"It was very emotional," Ohno says of the book-writing process. "I wanted to be open. That was really important for me, to show the true experiences in my life. I'm open, but at the same time, I wanted people to gain inspiration and feel more self-empowered to not let anything in life stop them. I want them to be inspired to live with maximum passion. The last thing I want is for people to go through the motions in life. We're all meant to do different things, but there's a lot of opportunity for us to do some great things."
Right now, the short-track speedskating star is taking a break from his sport to share his many messages. He still works out regularly, but not like he would if he were preparing to compete. He hasn't decided whether he wants to add to his medal haul at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. He figures he needs 2- 1/2 years to get ready, which means he has until roughly August to make up his mind.
But it seems like he's growing increasingly comfortable with life after short track. Then again, he also knows fans will never forget what he's accomplished.
During his exhausting book tour, he has been energized by the outpouring of love.
"So many people come out and say that I impacted their lives," Ohno says. "It's amazing, and I'm so very grateful for that."
Counting blessings -- one more thing he must do before he can sleep. At this rate, Ohno will be the happiest insomniac ever.