J.R. Celski Fails to Medal in Men's 500-Meter Final at Sochi 2014 Olympics

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2014

From left, J.R. Celski of the United States, Satoshi Sakashita of Japan, Han Tianyu of China, and Park Se-Yeong of South Korea start in a men's 500m short track speedskating quarterfinal at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

J.R. Celski was the last hope for the United States men to medal in an individual speedskating event, short- or long-track. But as has been the theme for the United States on the ice in Sochi, he couldn't reach the podium in the 500-meter short-track race.

As Alex Goldberger of NBC indicates, it was Victor An who took home gold in the event:

Nicholas Ruffolo of WEIU TV reports that the second-place finish in the B Final equates to a disappointing sixth-place finish for Celski:

Coming into the 500-meter race, Celski said he didn't feel any pressure given the United States' struggles in short-track, saying simply (via Jared S. Hopkins of the Los Angeles Times), "I'm just going to go out there and skate." 

He didn't quite skate well enough and was unable to salvage an otherwise rough Olympics in speedskating for the Americans.

Celski certainly isn't new to the Olympic stage, so it's a bit of a surprise he wasn't able to perform with the pressure on his shoulders in Sochi. He earned two bronze medals during the Vancouver Games (1,500-meter, 5,000-meter relay), so he had been there and done that, so to speak.

But it wasn't to be for Celski this time around. In Sochi, the Americans have yet to earn an individual speedskating medal. In Vancouver, they earned six medals in short-track events alone, not to mention the dominant performance put forth by Shani Davis in long-track, where he won a gold and silver.

But not this year. Davis didn't get close to any podiums, the United States regularly stumbled in its speedskating events, and Celski was left as the last great hope to medal.

Unfortunately, he couldn't stop the bleeding. The 2018 Olympics can't come soon enough for the American speedskaters.


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