"I had to tell him," 'You have to do this alone, all by yourself in the cottage in a very rainy, cold isolated area,' " Yuki said. "It's very hard for me to tell him, but, 'You have to take this path to come to the decision on your own.' "
On the ninth day, Apolo called his dad and said simply, "I'm ready."
And he was. Having truly dedicated himself to speed skating, his confidence returned. In a matter of months, he was one of the fastest speed skaters in the world. At the Salt Lake City games, he took home a silver and gold. In Torino last winter, he bagged a gold, silver and bronze.
More important, as the years passed, Apolo began to understand what his father had sacrificed for him and what he meant to him.
"I have certain times that I have to myself, I'm on the plane or I'm in a hotel room and I think like, 'Wow' You're very grateful -- you know, that I was blessed to have such great dad. And he is so supportive."
Yuki said despite the travails he came to see single parenthood as a kind of opportunity.
"It was a tremendous experience to be with your child since age one," Yuki said. "And every segment of the steps he has to go through, I was with him."
They now call themselves "Team Apolo." It is a team with a very exclusive membership: just father and son.