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Originally published February 21, 2014 at 9:19 PM | Page modified February 22, 2014 at 4:16 PM

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J.R. Celski earns silver medal

J.R. Celski of Federal Way 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 U.S. team, he couldn’t reach the podium in the 500-meter short-track race Friday.


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SOCHI, Russia — J.R. Celski of Federal Way 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 U.S. team, he couldn’t reach the podium in the 500-meter short-track race Friday.

Celski was fourth in the semifinals, then finished second in the “B” final at Iceberg Skating Palace.

However, he came back with his American teammates to win a silver medal in the 5,000 relay. It was the only speedskating medal for the beleaguered national program.

Also on the relay team were Chris Creveling, Eddy Alvarez and Jordan Malone. Russia won the gold and China the bronze.

Four years after rising star Celski won two medals in Vancouver, he got shut out until the final race.

“It feels good to leave with a medal,” Celski said. “It’s tough, we had an opportunity for a gold but it just wasn’t there today.”

In the 500, gold went to Russia’s Victor Ahn, silver to Wu Dajing of China and bronze to Canada’s Charle Cournoyer.

In long track, the U.S. was knocked out of medal contention in the team pursuit. This was the first time the long-track team has not won a medal since 1984.

Ahn’s two gold medals gave him eight medals for his career, tying retired star Apolo Anton Ohno for the most Olympic medals in the sport.

“He just shows he is the best guy in the world, definitely here,” Ohno said. “He’s got eight medals, six gold. Perhaps the best ever to put short-track speed skates on. Yeah, I would say so.”

The South Korean-born skater who switched nationalities in 2011 finished the Sochi Games with a medal in all four of his events.

Park Seung-hi of South Korea won the women’s 1,000.

First doping cases

A top German biathlete and an Italian bobsledder were kicked out of the Sochi Olympics in the first doping cases of the Winter Games.

Former two-time Olympic gold medalist Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine in both her “A” and “B” samples, the German Olympic Committee said.

The committee said she has been removed from the team and was being sent home.

Sachenbacher-Stehle — winner of two golds and three silvers in cross-country skiing at previous games — blamed the positive test on a nutritional supplement and said she had never knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs.

The Italian Olympic Committee, meanwhile, announced that bobsledder William Frullani was ejected from the Games after testing positive for the banned stimulant dimetylpentylamine.

Other events

• Four Ukrainian women — twins Vita and Valj Semerenko, Juliya Dzhyma and Olena Pidhrushna — gave their politically torn country some good news at the Sochi Games, winning the 4x6-kilometer biathlon relay for the nation’s first Winter Games gold medal in two decades.

• Canada routed Britain 9-3 to win its third straight gold medal in men’s curling.

Marielle Thompson of Canada edged teammate Kelsey Serwa for the gold in women’s skicross.

• Four-time Olympian Julie Chu will carry the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony.

• Under Armour, manufacturer of the controversial Mach 39 skin suit, and U.S. Speedskating announced an eight-year extension of their original contract, which had been set to expire this year.



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