SEATTLE, WA—The most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian in history, star of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and Seattle native, Apolo Anton Ohno has partnered with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and its Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program. Today in Bellevue, Ohno, in conjunction with the newly formed Apolo Anton Ohno Foundation, made his final stop on a five-city tour to schools throughout the U.S. encouraging kids to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking. The Apolo Anton Ohno Foundation, established by the eight-time Olympic medalist, will focus on providing youth of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds with the opportunity to play sports, be active and learn about the benefits of making responsible and positive choices.
The post-Olympic tour stopped at Chinook Middle School in Bellevue as the five-city tour comes to a close in his home state. The tour has stopped in New York City, Denver, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Ohno, in partnership with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, is bringing the Ask, Listen, Learn program to schools across the country through a series of interactive sessions with middle school children to encourage them to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking.
“The decisions I made as a young teen heavily influenced where I am today. In fact, many of the decisions I’ve made off-the-ice have contributed the most to my success,” said Apolo Anton Ohno, winner of eight-record breaking Olympic medals in short-track speed skating. “I truly believe that healthy habits and positive choices start at childhood which is why I’m proud to establish my own Foundation and work with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to spread healthy messages, including ‘say no’ to underage drinking, to kids across the country.”
Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility added, “Parents wield the most influence over a teen’s decision to drink, or not to drink, alcohol. By working with an elite role model such as Apolo Anton Ohno, we’re encouraging parents to talk to their kids about Ohno’s incredible achievements and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle but also the dangers of underage drinking.”
“I am proud that Seattle’s own Apolo Ohno has embraced the Ask, Listen, Learn program,” said Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Apolo is an excellent example for kids in our state, demonstrating that you can do anything when you choose dedication, determination, and living a healthy and active lifestyle and reject underage drinking.”
Ask, Listen, Learn was developed by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in 2003 alongside a team of educators and psychologists specializing in middle school-aged students to educate parents and kids about the dangers of underage drinking. This year, in partnership with PE4life, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility created an interactive, physical fitness activity (“game”) that builds on the existing Ask, Listen, Learn program. The activity is based on recent research by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. John Ratey showing that for a person’s brain to function at its peak, the body needs to move. The “game” teaches kids about the health consequences of underage drinking and encourages kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking.”
Ohno has demonstrated the game at schools and community-based organizations. According to a study conducted by Knowledge Networks on behalf of NBC Universal, 88% of parents say the Olympics is a great way to encourage children to adopt healthy behaviors such as exercising and eating right. Acting as a positive role model, Ohno will hold question and answer sessions with kids at each event.
Also online, Ask, Listen, Learn’s website, www.asklistenlearn.com, encourages kids to pledge to make healthy choices. The website features “SuperStars” including Apolo Anton Ohno who send positive messages to kids about staying fit and healthy and explains why elite athletes say “no” to underage drinking. The website also provides parents with information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
Launched in 1991, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a leader in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is funded by: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., Brown-Forman, Constellation Brands, Inc., Diageo, Hood River Distillers, Inc., Pernod Ricard USA, and Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. For more information about Ask, Listen, Learn or The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, please visit www.responsibility.org and www.asklistenlearn.com.
The Apolo Anton Ohno Foundation
The newly formed Apolo Anton Ohno Foundation will focus on providing youth of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds with the opportunity to play sports, be active and learn about the benefits of making responsible and positive choices. In addition to providing kids access to sports and recreational activities, the Apolo Anton Ohno Foundation will focus on teaching kids the importance of making healthy and positive choices including everything from their diet and exercise to other behavioral decisions and actions. Ohno believes healthy habits, including eating right and making positive choices, such as being active and saying “no” to peer pressure starts at a young age. The Apolo Anton Ohno Foundation strives to give kids the opportunity to participate in sports and build a foundation of making healthy and positive choices that will last a lifetime.
Jessica Lepak, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
Lepakj@responsibility.org, or (202) 637-0077