Apolo Ohno skates from athlete to actor on Hawaii Five-0

Apolo Ohno
Apolo Ohno
executive producer Peter Lenkov
executive producer Peter Lenkov

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sometimes, even good guys go bad! Olympic gold medalist, Apolo Ohno, guest starred the February 20th episode of Hawaii Five-0 - as a thief and murder suspect.

But before the Five-0 team could catch him, he sat down with me to talk about the transition from athlete to actor. He's the first to tell you, it's not necessarily a natural transition. Ohno hasn't decided if he'll go for Olympic gold again, but he is definitely setting his sights this new career. "A new challenge!" he exclaims. And he knew Five-0 would be a perfect fit.

On one of his breaks from shooting, he told me, "When I heard that they were going to remake Hawaii Five-0, I think I was actually still competing at the time. This was before the last Olympics, and I called my manager, and I said, 'I love the show. I gotta get on the show!' and finally, finally, we made it happen."

Mr. All-American loved playing the bad guy and has been taking lessons to hone his acting skills. "My entire life as an athlete, I spent, essentially creating this invisible shield, this invincibility shield - that I never showed any weakness," says Ohno, thinking back. "I didn't show any emotion, other than I was happy or I was never tired. And then, you reverse the role and you try to become an actor, and you show your vulnerability side. You show your weaknesses. You show all of your insecurities. So, it's a big change of pace, but it's something that I really enjoy."

Ohno's role on the show could be recurring – as producers tinker with various storylines down the road.

"I'm always thinking of whole, the big picture," explains executive producer, Peter Lenkov. "I'm thinking, like when we started the season, I was thinking about what our end game was going to be."

And for fans who think they know the endgame, plenty of surprises are still in store. "You can bring up a back story that wasn't there before or you can do all sorts of things," says the show's star, Alex O'Loughlin, who plays Steve McGarrett. "So, we have a lot of freedom with that. We've still got a lot of juice left in the Wo Fat stuff and the John McGarrett stuff. You know, we're far from resolution with that."

Add to that, the continuing rotation of guest stars - drawn to the allure of both the show and the islands – and the show stays fresh. "I love Hawaii," says Ohno. "Everytime I come back here, I feel so good. It's like one of the few places that I feel like I can rest and I'm calm. It's a really good sense of energy here."

Next on the guest list: legendary actor James Caan - Scott Caan's father. He won't be playing Danny's dad in the show, but just like Apolo Ohno's character, it promises to go against typecast and expectations.