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J. R. Celski

JR Celski
Short Track USA

J. R. Celski

J. R. Celski
  • Birth date 7/17/1990
  • Birthplace Monterey, CA
  • Hometown Federal Way, WA
  • Residence Salt Lake City, UT
  • Height/Weight 5'8"/ 138 lbs
  • Olympics 2010, 2014

Biography

Before making his Olympic debut, J.R. Celski earned a reputation as U.S. short track's rising star and potentially “the next Apolo Ohno” when the then-teenager won four event medals and the overall silver at the 2009 World Championships. But his podium chances took a hit five months before the 2010 Vancouver Games when he crashed during a race at the U.S. Olympic Trials and sliced a 7-inch long, 2-inch deep gash into his left leg with his own skate. But after surgery, 60 stitches and months of rehab, Celski recovered to win two bronzes, in the 1500m and 5000m relay, in his first Olympic Games.

After Vancouver, Celski took an extended break from competition to explore creative endeavors, including producing a documentary on Seattle’s hip-hop scene that featured rapper Macklemore. He returned to short track in prime form, and in October 2012 set a new world record in the 500m with a time of 39.937 seconds. It was the first time anyone had broken the 40-second mark in that distance, and the record still stands today. Celski entered the Sochi Olympics as the face of U.S. face track, but came up short of the podium in his individual races with a best finish of fourth place in the 1500m. On the final day of competition, Celski and the U.S. men avoided the wipeouts of their competitors in the men’s 5000m relay to win a silver medal.

After the 2014 World Championships, where he won three medals including overall silver, Celski stepped away from competition again to rest his mind and body. He underwent hip surgery in the fall of 2014 to repair a torn labrum, and returned to the U.S. national team in 2015. A knee injury at the 2016 National Championships forced him to cut that year’s World Cup season short, but he returned to win the men’s overall title at the 2017 U.S. National Championships.
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Getting to know J. R. Celski

1

Started inline skating at 3 years old

2

Switched to short track after watching Apolo Ohno compete at the 2002 Olympics

3

Full name is John Robert

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