The Filipino-American is poised to take home a medal in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, and the 5000m relay.

Olympian J.R. Celski is the Medal Favorite in Short Track Speedskating

Entering his second Olympics, 23 year-old J.R. Celski is a force to be reckoned with.  After successfully qualifying for three events (500m, 1000m, and the 1500m) and the 5000m men's relay team, it seems like the United States can count on Celski to bring home a medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Filipino-American J.R. Celski had his first exposure to short-track speedskating while watching the Winter Olympics in 2002 when he saw speedskating legend Apolo Ohno competing onscreen.  Since then, Celski has been captivated by the sport and even qualified for his first Olympics at the young age of nineteen for the 2010 Games in Vancouver.  However, during the last day of Olympic trials in 2009, Celski got into an accident during a race that left him with sixty stiches in his left leg.  Five months later, J.R. won two bronze medals for the U.S. team in the 1500m and the 5000m men's relay.

After Vancouver, J.R. decided to take a year off from skating and started a production company, MAD Northwest.  He produced a documentary about the Seattle hip-hop scene featuring Grammy winners Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, which was released online on February 6, 2014.  After his year off, J.R. began skating and competing internationally where he consistently won medals.  In December 2011, an ankle injury kept Celski from the ice, but he was able to bounce back in the 2012 season by breaking the world record in the 500m in October 2012.  J.R. finished the 2012 season strong with seven World Cup medals, and began training for the 2014 Games in April 2013.  Although J.R. trains full-time in Salt Lake City with the rest of the U.S. Speedskating National team, he trained in Southern California with his coach Wilma Boomstra for a couple of months before returning to Salt Lake.  In the months prior to the Olympic trials, J.R. would train for 5-7 hours a day 6-7 days a week.  He even describes his training mindset by saying, "Going into this games, I'm a little older, a little more experienced in my sport, and having that knowledge from Vancouver, I've been able to set my training program and the way I train a lot differently than I did before."

Today, J.R. ranks in the world's top 10 for the 1000m and 1500m, and just outside the world's top 10 in the 500m, making him an international threat.  Along with teammates Jordan Malone, Kyle Carr, Eddie Alvarez, and Chris Creveling, the U.S. men's team relay team aspires for the gold against the short-track powerhouses Canada and South Korea.

The Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics will be aired on NBC on February 7, 2014 at 7:30pm EST.  For more information about J.R.'s story, please visit: http://jrcelski.com.

UPDATE: J.R. placed fourth in the men's 1500m that was held on February 10th. J.R. fell in the 1000m quarterfinals and failed to advance to the finals that were held on February 15th. On February 21st, J.R. fell again in the 500m, but was advanced to the B final when a skater was disqualified; he finished 6th overall. Anchoring the United States Men's Short Track 5000m relay, J.R. and teammates Jordan Malone, Kyle Carr, Eddie Alvarez, and Chris Creveling powered through and won a silver medal behind gold medalists Russia and in front of bronze medalists China on February 21.
J.R. finishes the 2014 Winter Olympics with one silver medal out of the four events he competed in.

Sources: NBC Sports, Fox News, Bleacher Report, U.S. Speedskating, Yahoo! Sports, AIM International.
Photo: jrcelski.com