Federal Way honors speedskater Celski as he heads to Olympics

Federal Way native J.R. Celski will compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics that begin this Saturday.  - Contributed
Federal Way native J.R. Celski will compete in the 2014 Sochi Olympics that begin this Saturday.
— image credit: Contributed

The city of Federal Way sent some good vibes toward Federal Way native J.R. Celski as the Council announced a proclamation in support of the speedskating Olympian during a meeting on Tuesday.

Celski brought home two bronze medals from the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and is a favorite for gold coming into the Sochi games, having set the world record for 500 meter short track racing in 2012 and also becoming the first person to break the 40 second mark in that event.

He’s set to compete in that 500 meter, and the 1,000 and 1,500 meter races in Sochi. He will also be part of the 5,000 meter relay team, and is a role model for Federal Way, said Mayor Jim Ferrell.

“J.R. Celski is a hometown hero, a true inspiration and a role model for the youth of Federal Way,” declared Ferrell at during the proclamation presentation.

Celski’s parents, Councilmember Bob Celski and Sue, were on hand to share their thoughts on their son.

“Thank you … the city of Federal Way, who stood behind us and believed like we believe in our son all these years,” Sue Celski said. “Thank you for the prayers, support and all the belief you have. The cheers will be going with us, as we take this incredible trip. He makes us proud, we know you’re proud of him too, and we appreciate that very much.”

Bob Celski said his response required him to take off his council member hat, and put on his “dad hat.”

“One thing the mayor read, and I want to re-read it. It said, ‘Whereas, J.R. Celski is a proud native of Federal Way,’ and that he definitely is,” Bob Celski said. “We’re proud residents of Federal Way, he’s proud to have been raised here, he comes from here, he acknowledges that, and he wears that Federal Way logo wherever he goes. (J.R. has) worked hard, exceedingly long and tirelessly, to bring home the gold this time. He’s one of the top five in the world, he’s very capable of doing that, and we really have confidence that he’ll do his best there and he’s going to bring home some hardware.”

“Thank you again for this honor, we really appreciate it. We’re looking forward to a great Olympics and a great experience,” Bob Celski added.

He will be providing a blog of his experiences in Sochi with The Mirror, both in print and online at

He also noted that NBC was set to run an hour-long special on Wednesday, Feb. 5, titled “Raising an Olympian,” in which Sue and J.R. are featured.


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