Booty Call

Christian Okoye jumps aboard a new pirate show
June 03, 2007

REALITY WRAPUP

CHRISTIAN OKOYE played his entire NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs, butnow he's become a buccaneer. The former running back is a contestant on PirateMaster (CBS on May 31, 8 p.m.), a floating reality show set in the Caribbean.The show—the latest creation of Mark Burnett, the man behind Survivor and TheApprentice—places 16 competitors aboard a 179-foot ship. Grouped in teams, theyspend 33 days deciphering clues and racing to find buried treasure; they alsomust avoid being "cut adrift" at the end of each episode. The winnergets a $500,000 grand prize. Okoye, the only celebrity on a cast whose membersinclude a receptionist, two bartenders and a glass blower, says that before hesigned up for the show, "I just made sure I still remembered how toswim."

Okoye, 45, wasthe NFL's leading rusher in 1989 and made two Pro Bowls in his six seasonsbefore retiring in '93 with a knee injury. Now living in Rancho Cucamonga,Calif., he works as a television studio analyst for Oakland Raiders broadcasts.("Some of [Oakland's fans] are upset that a Chief is talking about theirRaiders," he says.) He also runs a fitness and nutrition company and theChristian Okoye Foundation, which gives free sports clinics and businesstutorials to underprivileged kids.

Okoye, who jogs,bicycles and lifts weights to keep in shape, says he readied himself to be apirate in the Caribbean by "watching a few Johnny Depp movies." He cameaway from the show—taping is complete, but he can't say how he did—with respectfor this new kind of competition. "Preparing for football is a littleeasier," he says. "It's all physical. You bang heads, and then go homeand take Tylenol."

Amazing Feets

Olympic speedskater Apolo Ohno tears it up on Dancingwith the Stars

APOLO OHNO had a moment of dread in his first episodeof Dancing with the Stars. The speedskater had arrived on the L.A. set only aweek after the world short track championships in Milan, where he had won agold and three bronzes. Feeling unprepared, he danced the cha-cha with partnerJulianne Hough and scored a disappointing 21 out of 30. He feared he was goingto be knocked off by the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus and the guy who played Cliffon Cheers. "I'm an Olympic athlete," he says. "I don't want to beeliminated first."

The competitor inside awakened, Ohno and Hough (right)trained 12 to 14 hours per day for the 10 weeks of the show. They scored theseason's first perfect 30 with a samba in Week 5 and matched it with anaggressive pasodoble in Week 10. "That was the first time I felt like I wasdancing," he says. In the finale, his hip-hop number topped the dances ofthe other remaining competitors, boxer Laila Ali and 'N Sync member JoeyFatone. Ohno, 25, is the show's second consecutive athlete-winner, followingEmmitt Smith. The two-time Olympian says his speedskating skills didn't help onthe dance floor. "I was pretty uncomfortable," he says. "I wasdoing a lot of movement that, as an athlete, I wasn't used to." His mentalgame, though, was essential. "That's why some athletes have done well,"he says. "We know what it takes to work hard."

PHOTOMONTY BRINTON/CBS (OKOYE AS PIRATE)AHOY, OKOYE You can't spell Caribbean without an RB. PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (OKOYE PLAYING) PHOTOFRED PROUSER/REUTERS (JORDIN SPARKS) PHOTOCAROL KAELSON/ABC (OHNO) PHOTO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)