Federal Way’s J.R. Celski ended up with an overall silver medal at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships last weekend in Montreal.
Celski snagged a gold medal in the 3,000-meter Superfinal during the World Championships after finishing the event in 4:59.528 to outdistance second-place Jingnan Shi. Russia’s Victor An finished third in the 3,000, but won the overall title with impressive performances in all four individual events in Montreal.
Celski also finished in second place in the 500-meter final, was sixth in the 1,000 and 12th overall in the 1,500 meters.
The solid performance at the World Championships comes after a somewhat disappointing individual Olympics in Sochi. Celski’s only medal, a silver, in Russia came in the 5,000-meter relay for the American team.
This was after the Federal Way native dominated at the United States Olympic Trials in Utah. Celski qualified in all individual events.
It was Celski’s second Winter Olympic Games. He won a pair of bronze medals in Vancouver, B.C. in 2010 as a 20-year-old. During the 2010 trials, Celski had over 60 stitches put in his leg after his razor-sharp skate sliced a huge gash into his left leg during a crash. He bruised his femoral artery and came within inches of severing it, which had the potential of being fatal.
At the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials, Celski lost just one race during the four-day event, finishing second by half a skate blade to Chris Creveling in the first 1,000 final. Celski came back to easily win the second 1,000 final of the day. He also won the 500 and 1,500.
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 2012.