Celski ends up fifth at Worlds


The Mirror

Federal Way resident J.R. Celski missed out on a podium finish. But the 17-year-old did return from the World Junior Short Track Speedskating Championships with an impressive finish.

Celski ended up fifth overall at the Junior World Championships, which concluded Sunday in Bolzano, Italy. He was the top American finisher. The championships featured the top-69 skaters under 19 years old from all the top speedskating countries.

Celski’s top finish came in the 1,500-meters where he ended up fourth in a personal-best time of 2:18.76. The top-three placers in the race were from the skating-rich country of South Korea. He finished fifth in the 500-meter final and fifth in the 1,500 super final.

Celski recently took an 18-month break from competitive speed skating after suffering a back injury at the 2006 Junior World Championships and returned home to Federal Way for his junior year of high school at Todd Beamer. Celski had been living in Southern California and training with heralded coach Wilma Boomstra in Long Beach.

He has since moved back to California to continue his training in pursuit of making the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C.

Celski skated at the 2006 World Junior Short Track Championships as a 15-year-old and his best individual finish came in the 500-meter race. Celski earned a bronze medal in the shortest race of the weekend.

He qualified for the World Championships by winning five gold medals at the 2007 United States Junior Short Track Championships in Bay City, Mich. late last year.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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