Apolo Anton Ohno is committed to the goatee

Thu, Oct 28
9:42
AM ET

As the most decorated American Winter Olympian of all time, Apolo Anton Ohno has made plenty of memories. His eight medals (two gold, two silver, four bronze) are unforgettable.

But there's one thing he can't quite remember.

Apolo Anton Ohno
Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup/APApolo Anton Ohno said the goatee isn't going anywhere.

"I gotta tell you, I haven't seen my chin in years," Ohno said. "I don't know what it looks like underneath there."

He's referring, of course, to that trademark triangular-shaped patch of facial hair -- the goatee? Soul patch?

"It's just a goatee," he says, dismissing any soul patch notions. "That sounds kind of weird. A soul patch? I don't know how 'soul' it is."

Whatever you call it, he's keeping it.

"I kinda have to. It's like the bandana," he says, referring to the bandana he wears when he skates. "Now, I can't work out without it. It feels weird when I work out without it."

Fans embraced the goatee when Ohno first rose to prominence, becoming the face of speed skating in the United States.

"It was a phenomenon that started in 2002, at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. People started taking like electric tape and putting it there," Ohno said. "People were putting them on their dogs. It was pretty crazy."

Now it's been with him through three Olympics and even a Dancing with the Stars victory.

"I don't know why I started doing it," Ohno said. "This is not like something I shaped. This is something that grew like this because I'm half-Asian, and for some reason I can't grow true facial hair and when I do it just looks funny."

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