Sochi Olympics: J.R. Celski only hope for U.S. in men's speedskating

Sochi Olympics: J.R. Celski only hope for U.S. in men's speedskating
American J.R. Celski, front, leads the pack during a men's short-track speedskating 500-meter heat at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games on Tuesday. The United States is still looking for its first 2014 Olympics medal in short-track speedskating. (Paul Gilham / Getty Images)

SOCHI, Russia — J.R. Celski is the last man standing.

The short-track speedskater advanced to Friday's quarterfinals of the 500 by finishing second in his heat. Celski, 23, is the only U.S. male who can win an individual speedskating medal — short or long track — after Emery Lehman and Patrick Meek finished out of the medals in speedskating's 10,000 on Tuesday.


"I kind of just held my ground and made it through," Celski said.

Eddy Alvarez, who crashed in his heat at the Iceberg Skating Palace with about 50 meters to go, and Jordan Malone, who finished fourth in his heat, did not make it out of the preliminary rounds.

Celski said that there's no added pressure.

"I'm just going to go out there and skate," said Celski, who took two bronze in 2010.

In women's short-track 1,000, Americans Emily Scott and Jessica Smith advanced to Friday's quarterfinals.

The U.S. did not qualify for the women's 3,000 relay final, won Tuesday by South Korea. Silver went to Canada, while Italy took bronze.

Three short-track races remain, and the U.S. has yet to win any medals. Its men's relay team is the favorite in Friday's 5,000, but being in that position hasn't meant much at these Games for the Americans.

Lehman's terms: Lehman, the youngest U.S. male Olympian in Sochi, clocked 13 minutes 28.67 seconds in the men's speedskating 10,000 meters on Tuesday, finishing 10th.

Meek finished 11th in 13:28.72. The Dutch again swept the medals at Adler Arena Skating Center.

Lehman, 17, said he was happy with his second Olympic race. He finished 16th in the 5,000 on the first day of competition.

"It was definitely a good race," he said, noting it was a personal-best on a sea-level track.

Other than competition, Lehman said his highlight of the Olympics was watching the U.S.' 7-1 win over Slovakia in men's hockey near the glass by the U.S. goal.

"Awesome," he said. "Besides going to a Stanley Cup or playoff game, this is definitely the next best opportunity to see a game."


Twitter: @jaredshopkins