Olympic Medalist, Best-Selling Author Next Distinguished Lecturers at University of Arkansas

Thursday, March 20, 2008

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Apolo Ohno, winner of two Olympic gold medals in short distance speed skating, and Malcolm Gladwell, best selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, will be the next speakers in the University of Arkansas Distinguished Lecture Series.

Ohno will present “An Evening with Apolo Ohno” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, at the Fayetteville Town Center on the downtown Fayetteville Square.

Gladwell will deliver his lecture, “Blink,” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, also at the Fayetteville Town Center.

Both events are free and open to the public. No tickets are required, and the Town Center has a seating capacity of about 1,400 people.

 
Apolo Ohno

Apolo Ohno, a Seattle native, became the youngest person to win an overall U.S. championship in short-track speed skating when he was only 14 years old, in 1997. At 15, however, he failed to make the 1998 U.S. Olympic team, and faced a personal crisis. He now describes himself in those days as a rebellious and undisciplined teenager who had to decide if he wanted to make the commitment required to be an Olympic-caliber athlete. He made that commitment and within the next four years he became the first American to win a World Cup title and earned a place on the 2002 Olympic team. He won gold and silver medals in the 2002 Winter Olympics, three more World Cup overall titles in the next three years and in the 2006 Winter Olympics he claimed his second gold medal, along with two bronze medals.

Despite these achievements, Ohno is perhaps as famous for his ballroom dancing skills as for his athletic achievements. Last year millions of viewers watched as he captured the “coveted” mirror-ball trophy as season four champion of ABC Television’s Dancing with the Stars.  

 
Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell has placed two books at the top of the New York Times bestseller’s list. The most recent, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), is about instinctive reasoning, the process the mind uses to make snap decisions and arrive at first impressions. Gladwell starts from recent research in a new area of psychology, but the book ranges over  subjects like marriage, World War II code-breaking, ancient Greek sculpture, New Jersey's best car dealer, Tom Hanks, speed-dating, medical malpractice, how to hit a topspin forehand, and what you can learn from someone by looking around their bedroom. And that’s just in four chapters. Blink also sets out to help people improve their “instant” decision making and to teach them how to arrive at more accurate first impressions.

Gladwell’s first book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, (2000), presented the idea of “social epidemics.” He explored ways that ideas, behavior, messages and even products can cause sudden and dramatic changes in much the same way as a medical epidemic. The book itself demonstrated its own thesis, as “tipping point” entered the popular vocabulary, changing approaches to business and social issues, among other things.

Gladwell is a native of rural Ontario, Canada, but now lives in New York City, where he is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine.

The Distinguished Lecture Series is supported by student activity fees, the Associated Student Government and the University of Arkansas. Past lecturers have included Anderson Cooper, Al Franken,and Ben Stein, James Carville and Mary Matalin Robert Redford, Benazir Bhutto, Ehud Barak,  and James Earl Jones.

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