J.R. Celski, Last Male American Speed Skater Standing, Fails To Medal

American speed skater J.R. Celski fell during the 500-meter short track quarterfinal, but the US skater advanced to the semifinals after another competitor was disqualified at the Sochi Winter Games.

The fall did not involve another skater, however, since Park Se-yeong of South Korea was eliminated by the judges for impeding J.R. Celski was allowed to advance regardless of the fall.

The 23-year-old from California — who overcame a false start — wiped out in a turn with two laps to go, on the Friday night qualifier after nearly avoiding a collision when Japanese skater Satoshi Sakashita went down right ahead of him.

Viktor Ahn — the South Korean speed skater nationalized Russias — easily won his heat, continuing his bid to win the only Olympic short race the has not won in his career.

And so, J.R. Celski remains the sole American man in the speed skating competition and despite a fall that would otherwise would have meant instant elimination, thanks to the Japanese disqualification advances for a shot at an Olympic medal.

Celski’s teammates Emery Lehman and Patrick Meek did not advance to the medals round in the speed skating 10,000 on Tuesday.

“I kind of just held my ground and made it through,” Celski who won two bronze medals in Vancouver said afterwards. “I’m just going to go out there and skate.”

Even with J.R. Celski’s lack of pressure, he failed to medal in an otherwise dismal showing for the US in the sport that saw Apollo Anton Ohno dominate with eight medals during his illustrious career.

Without Ohno — who is now retired and served as a commentator for the speed skating events — the men’s US speed skating team did not impress, with the great Shani Davis not getting anywhere near the podium. J.R. Celski and his teammates will have to wait until the 2018 Olympics to make their comeback.

[Image via B.Stefanov / Shutterstock.com]