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SPEEDSKATING: Celski's Olympic quest kicks off Friday at U.S. Trials in Utah
Federal Way native J.R. Celski's quest to become a two-time Olympian will get going Friday at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials — Short Track Speedskating. Four years ago, Celski brought home two bronze medals from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, as a 20-year-old.
The U.S. Olympic Trials will take place in Kearns, Utah, through Sunday. The top-three finishers in each race will automatically qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 7-23.
The Trials will include 5 1/2 hours of coverage on NBC and the NBC Sports Network on both the men's and women's side from the Utah Olympic Oval.
NBC Sports Network kicks off short track coverage on Friday at 5 p.m. with the men’s and women’s 1500-meter events. Coverage continues on Saturday at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Network with the men’s and women’s 500 meters, and concludes on NBC on Sunday at 1 p.m. with the men’s and women’s 1000 meters.
In total, NBC Olympics will present an unprecedented 34.5 hours of live coverage of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi next month. Aside from short track speedskating, coverage also includes hockey, ski jumping, Nordic combined and curling.
Celski’s short track 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. He also ended the recent World Cup season in impressive fashion by winning a pair of gold medals in November in Kolomna, Russia. Celski won the 1,500 and anchored the American 5,000-meter relay team.