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SPEEDSKATING: Celski wins a pair of golds at World Cup in Russia

Federal Way native J.R. Celski has the lead during the ISU World Cup event in Kolomna, Russia. Celski won the gold in the event.  - Photo by John-Henry Krueger
Federal Way native J.R. Celski has the lead during the ISU World Cup event in Kolomna, Russia. Celski won the gold in the event.
— image credit: Photo by John-Henry Krueger

Federal Way native J.R. Celski ended the World Cup season in impressive fashion last weekend in Russia. Celski won a pair of gold medals and a bronze at the ISU World Cup in Kolomna.

Celski won the 1,500 meters and anchored the United States’ 5,000-meter relay team. He also finished third in the 1,000 in Russia.

“I’m really happy to have won gold in the 1,500,” Celski said. “It’s really cool to have the opportunity to race the best skaters in the world and I’m grateful to have come out on top. This competition is important as we are qualifying spots for the Olympics, so it’s nice to know that the USA can compete and win on this level.”

Celski won the 1,500-meter title after a photo finish and beat Russia in the relay. The 23-year-old currently lives and trains in Utah. Celski now returns to Salt Lake City to continue his training for the U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials, which will take place Jan. 2-5 in Utah. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23.

Celski is hoping to qualify for his second Olympic Games. He brought home two bronze medals from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, as a 20-year-old.

Celski’s career started as a 4-year-old inline skater at Federal Way’s Pattison’s West with his father, Bob, and two brothers, Chris and David. After numerous inline national championships, Celski switched over to the ice as a 12-year-old.

Celski is the current world record holder in the 500 meters. He is the first person to skate a sub-40 in the distance, setting the world record with a time of 39.937 in the first World Cup of last season on Oct. 21, 2012.

Celski won the 2012 overall title at the U.S. Senior Short Track Speedskating National Championships in December.

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