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J. R. Celski

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J. R. Celski
J.R. at the Seattle International Film Festival, May 2013.jpg.png
Celski at the Seattle International Film Festival, May 2013
Personal information
Birth name John Robert Celski
Born (1990-07-17) July 17, 1990 (age 28)
Monterey, California
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight 140 lb (64 kg)
Country  United States
Sport Short track speed skating
Club U.S. National Racing Program

John Robert "J. R." Celski (/ˈsɛlski/, born July 17, 1990) is an American short track speed skater, three-time Olympian, and three-time medalist in the Winter Olympics. Celski has held a total of 5 combined Short Track World and Junior World Records throughout his career including the 500m and 5000m relay World Records as well as the 500m, 1000m and 3000m relay Junior World Records. Celski was a part of the team that broke and currently holds the World Record in the 5000m Relay established in Shanghai, China on 12 November 2017.[1]

On 21 October 2012, in Calgary, Canada, Celski became the first person to skate under the 40 second barrier in the 500m event with a time of 39.937 seconds.;[2] He held the World Record for this distance for over 5 years from October 2012 to February 2018.

At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Celski won bronze in the 1500 m and the 5000 m relay. Five months before the Olympics, Celski suffered a gruesome injury when he fell during a race and his right skate blade gashed his left thigh all the way to his femur bone and was uncertain if he would be able to skate again. [3]

Celski's breakthrough performance was at the 2009 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships where he won five medals (two gold, one silver, two bronze). Overall, Celski has won three gold medals, four silver medals, and four bronze medals at the World Championships. He also has one bronze medal at the World Team Championships and four medals (two gold, two bronze) at the World Junior Championships.


2009 World Junior Championships[edit]

In the 500 m, Celski won the final with a time of 41.462 breaking the previous Junior World Record.[4] In the 1000 m semi-final, Celski broke the previous Junior World Record with a time of 1:25.304. Celski finished third overall with 58 points.[5] Celski then combined with Eduardo Alvarez, Jonathan Sermeno, and Robert Lawrence in the 3000 m relay to finish first with a Junior World record time of 4:06.032.[6]

2009 World Championships[edit]

In the 1500 m, Celski placed third with a time of 2:14.974.[7] In the 1000 m, Celski placed third with a time of 1:26.348.[8] In his third event, the 3000 m, Celski won with a time of 4:48.444.[9] Celski finished second overall with 65 points.[10] Celski then combined with Ryan Bedford, Jordan Malone, and Apolo Ohno in the 5000 m relay to finish first with a time of 6:51.400.[11]

2010 Winter Olympics[edit]


The U.S. Short Track Speed Skating Olympic Trials were held September 8–12, 2009 in Marquette, Michigan. Celski finished second overall and was leading in points after the first two nights of the trials, but was injured during a crash in the semifinals of the 500 m race where his right skate sliced into his left leg; he did not skate in the second 1000 m races. His injury required emergency surgery, 60 stitches, and five months of rehabilitation with the help of Eric Heiden. Celski was unsure if he would ever compete again.[12][13] During the 1000 m time trial, Celski won with a personal best of 1:23.981. Celski, along with Ohno, Jordan Malone, Travis Jayner and Simon Cho were the top five finishers at the trials.[12] Afterwards, Ohno said about the nominated team: "This is the strongest team we've ever had. I feel really good about how we will do in the next Olympics".[12]


At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Celski won a pair of bronze medals. One in the 1500 m and another in the 5000 m relay. In the 1500 m final, Celski won the bronze medal after 2006 silver medalist Lee Ho-Suk crashed into fellow Korean skater Sung Si-Bak during the final turn of the last lap.[14] Celski was in fifth place leading into the crash and as a result moved into third place. Apolo Ohno moved into second place.[15] Celski was disqualified in the 1000 m semifinals.[16] The 5000 m relay team for the United States finished with the bronze medal. The team, consisting of Apolo Ohno, Simon Cho, Travis Jayner, Jordan Malone and Celski, was in the fourth position for the majority of the race.[17] With a strong push from Celski with two laps to go, Ohno as the anchor leg was able to pass the Chinese team for third place; Canada won the gold and South Korea took silver.[18]

2010 World Championships[edit]

Celski advanced to finals of the 1500 m after winning 1st place in the heats, quarterfinals, and semifinals. In the final, Celski finished in 4th place, in front of teammate Travis Jayner, who came in 6th.[19] The next day, Celski competed in the 500 m. During the semifinals, Celski attempted a pass from fourth to third place, but during his pass, François-Louis Tremblay of Canada, in second place at the time, fell, tripping Celski on his way down. Celski finished the race in 3rd, but was then disqualified, while Tremblay advanced.[20] In the 1000 m, Celski finished third behind Lee Ho-Suk and Kwak Yoon-Gy with a time of 1:27.515.[21] In the 3000 m, Celski again placed third behind Lee Ho-Suk and Kwak Yoon-Gy.[22] Celski finished fourth overall with 39 points.[23] Celski then combined with Jordan Malone, Travis Jayner, and Simon Cho in the 5000 m relay to finish second behind South Korea with a time of 6:46.205.[24]

2014 Winter Olympics[edit]

At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, J.R. competed and placed 4th in the Men's 1500m, 6th in the 500m, and 13th in the 1000m. J.R. earned a Silver medal in the Short Track Men's 5000m Relay.[25]

2018 Winter Olympics[edit]

At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, J.R. competed in the 1500m, 1000m, and the Men's 5000m Relay. [26]

Media appearances[edit]

On Tuesday, February 9, 2010, J.R. appeared on the TV show The Biggest Loser where he introduced a pop-challenge to the contestants of the show. During the segment J.R. offered words of encouragement, and showed the contestants how to use a slide board.[27]

On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, J.R. was featured in a one-hour special on NBC television titled How to Raise an Olympian. The program, hosted by Meredith Vieira, chronicles the journeys of seven U.S. Olympians and features interviews from parents and coaches along with home video and photos from each athlete's childhood. The event was broadcast on television with live social media components to further each segment.

Personal life[edit]

Celski was born in Monterey, California, where his father was serving in the U.S. Army. He was raised in Federal Way, Washington.[28] His father, Robert, is of Polish descent and his mother, Sue, is of Filipino descent.[29] Celski has two older brothers, Chris and David; David serves as Captain in the United States Army, and Chris is a salesperson at Nordstrom. Celski attended Lakewood High School in Lakewood, California, as well as Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Washington, graduating from Lakewood with high honors in the Merit Scholars Program.[30] Before switching to speed skating after seeing the 2002 Winter Olympics, Celski was a national champion in-line skater.[31] He missed the minimum age requirement for the 2006 Winter Olympics by 17 days.[32]


  1. ^ "Short Track Speed Skating Records". ISU. 
  2. ^ "J.R. Celski Sets Short Track World Record". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
  3. ^ Borzilleri, Meri-Jo (2010-02-07). "J.R. Celski poised for return after gruesome injury". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2010-08-31. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  4. ^ "2009 ISU World Junior Championships, Canada – 500 M – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  5. ^ "2009 ISU World Junior Championships, Canada – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  6. ^ "2009 ISU World Junior Championships, Canada – 3000 M Relay – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  7. ^ "2009 ISU World Championships, Austria – 1500 M – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  8. ^ "2009 ISU World Championships, Austria – 1000 M – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  9. ^ "2009 ISU World Championships, Austria – 3000 M Super Final – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  10. ^ "2009 ISU World Championships, Austria – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  11. ^ "2009 ISU World Championships, Austria – 5000 M Relay – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  12. ^ a b c "Skater Celski injured in crash at short track Olympic trials". USA Today. 2009-09-16. Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  13. ^ Almasy, Steve (2010-02-14). "Speed skater J.R. Celski overcomes bloody injury to capture bronze". CNN. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  14. ^ "Short Track Speed Skating at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games: Men's 1,500 metres Final Round". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  15. ^ "JR Celski Wins Bronze Medal in Men's 1500 Short Track Olympics Skating". 2010-02-13. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  16. ^ "Fil-Am speed skater Celski disqualified in Winter Olympics event". ABS–CBN Corporation. 2010-02-22. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  17. ^ Kelley, Steve (2010-02-27). "Ohno helps U.S. take bronze in 5,000 relay". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  18. ^ "Short Track Speed Skating at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games: Men's 5,000 metres Relay Final Round". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  19. ^ "2010 ISU World Championships, BUL, Sofia – 1500 m – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  20. ^ "2010 ISU World Championships, BUL, Sofia – 500 m – Men (semifinals)". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  21. ^ "2010 ISU World Championships, BUL, Sofia – 1000 m – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  22. ^ "2010 ISU World Championships, BUL, Sofia – 3000 m – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  23. ^ "2010 ISU World Championships, BUL, Sofia – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  24. ^ "2010 ISU World Championships, BUL, Sofia – 5000 m Relay – Men". ISU. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "No Americans Advance to Men's 1,500M Final". Team USA. 
  27. ^ "J.R. Celski and The Biggest Loser". Diets In Review. 2010-02-09. 
  28. ^ "Asiance Magazine profile of J. R. Celski". Asiance Magazine. 2010-01-31. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  29. ^ "JR Celski Tattoo Is Both Philippine And Polish". Trick Wire. 2010-02-21. Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  30. ^ Salazar, Jo-Ryan (2010-02-13). "Meet J.R. Celski: A Filipino-American with the Heart of a Lion". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  31. ^ "Celski skates into spotlight". USA TODAY. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  32. ^ Judd, Ron (2005-12-20). "Olympics: Speed demon Celski follows familiar path". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 

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