J.R. Celski: Racing for the Gold


George Bridges / MCT campus

J.R. Celski races to the finish line at the Olympic trials.

Grace Kim, Staff Writer

As the 2014 Winter Olympics start up, the spotlight shines on a rising star on the U.S. short-track speed skating team: J.R. Celski. Celski proved himself as a worthy contender with his success at the US Olympic trials where he came out on top in the men’s 1500 short track event. According to ESPN, “J.R. Celski is picking up right where Apolo Anton Ohno left off four years ago.”

Born in California but raised in Washington, 23 year old J.R. Celski has been skating since the age of four. At the age of 14 he decided that he wanted to chase after his Olympic dream, and he moved to Long Beach, California, where he began intense training. Celski attended high school whilst training, and he got accepted into the University of California, Berkeley.  However, he temporarily put schooling aside so he could focus on the Vancouver Olympics.

Celski went through many obstacles to get to where he is today, including a gruesome injury in 2009 in which a crash caused his right ice skate blade to cut open his left leg. “I remember seeing pictures of his injury and wondering if he would ever be able to skate again,” says sophomore Morgan Singletary. The injury was so bad that it could have been fatal; luckily Celski survived and began rehab shortly after it healed. He began to train on ice only weeks before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but the training paid off as he took home two bronze medals.

Although Celski is receiving pressure as the winter Olympics in Sochi draws near, he is not letting that get to his head. According to Sports Illustrated, Celski is following a more relaxed training routine as the Games draw near, spending around four hours a day on ice and focusing more on the technical aspects of racing.

As the days until Sochi 2014 dwindle, many fans, including Parkview High School students, prepare to cheer on this determined athlete. “I have heard great things about J.R. Celski, and I think he is really going to pull forward in the Olympics this year,” says sophomore Catherine Maloney. Time will only tell what is in store for this outstanding athlete.