Chris Creveling

U.S. Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Team finalized

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J.R. Celski and Jessica Smith qualified for every distance in Sochi, while the final four members of the eight-skater U.S. Olympic Short Track Team were decided Sunday.

Celski and Smith, who already won the 500m and 1500m at the U.S. Olympic Trials, prevailed in the 1000m on the final day of competition at the Utah Olympic Oval.

“The USA is here to play,” Celski said on NBC. “We’re going to go to Sochi and represent.”

Eddy Alvarez and Emily Scott, who made their first Olympics on Saturday, also finished in qualifying position for all three distances.

They’ll be joined on the U.S. Olympic Team by 2010 Olympians Jordan Malone and Alyson Dudek and first-time Olympians Chris Creveling and Kyle Carr.

The U.S. team headed to Sochi is a rebuilt one following the retirements of individual Olympic medalists Apolo Ohno and Katherine Reutter and scandals involving skate tampering and coaching abuse that caused a reorganization of US Speedskating.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Smith said on NBC. “I’m excited for what the future holds. All three of us [women] here are looking for the gold and the podium as well. We’re looking to bring home all the medals.”

Creveling, 27, all but booked his spot by winning the first 1000m final on Sunday, handing the two-time Olympic bronze medalist Celski his first loss at trials. It looks like Creveling will skate the 1000m and 1500m in Sochi.

Malone, 29, looks likely to skate the 500m in Sochi despite pulling out of the second 1000m with bruised ribs and a strained hip tendon from an earlier crash Sunday.

Carr wasn’t in the top three in any individual distance but should have a spot on the preliminary-round relay in Sochi.

The relay team with Celski and Malone won bronze in 2010.

The women had one spot left to be decided on their three-skater Olympic Team on Sunday. The favorite going in was Dudek, and she held on despite finishing third in the 1000m, a distance the U.S. women will have two spots in at Sochi.

Dudek will be able to skate the 500m and 1500m at the Olympics. The U.S. women did not qualify an Olympic relay team, a disappointment after Dudek and Co. won bronze in 2010.

“I’m more prepared now,” Dudek said on NBCSN. “It’s going to be completely different.”

Here are the final individual distance and overall standings from the U.S. Olympic Trials:

Men’s 500m
1. J.R. Celski — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Eddy Alvarez — 1,920 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Jordan Malone — 1,357 (clinched Olympic berth)

Men’s 1000m
1. J.R. Celski — 2,300 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Chris Creveling — 1,810 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Eddy Alvarez — 1,472 (clinched Olympic berth)

Men’s 1500m
1. J.R. Celski — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Eddy Alvarez — 1,632 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Chris Creveling — 1,428 (clinched Olympic berth)

Women’s 500m
1. Jessica Smith — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 1,840 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Alyson Dudek — 1,760 (clinched Olympic berth)

Women’s 1000m
1. Jessica Smith — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 2,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Alyson Dudek — 1,600

Women’s 1500m
1. Jessica Smith — 2,300 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 2,200 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Alyson Dudek — 1,600 (clinched Olympic berth)

Here are the overall distance standings:

Men
1. J.R. Celski — 6,800 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Eddy Alvarez — 4,704 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Chris Creveling — 3,674 (clinched Olympic berth)
4. Kyle Carr — 2,927 (clinched Olympic berth)
5. Jordan Malone — 2,917 (clinched Olympic berth)
6. Travis Jayner — 2,008

Women
1. Jessica Smith — 6,800 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 5,640 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Alyson Dudek — 4,640 (clinched Olympic berth)
4. Sarah Chen — 3,128

Apolo Ohno switches from ice to booth

Photos: Final Five meet the President, First Lady

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29:  U.S. first lady Michelle Obama(L) rests her elbow on the head of Olympian Simone Biles (2nd L) as President Barack Obama (R) speaks during an East Room event at the White House September 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama and the first lady welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House to honor their participation and success in the Rio Olympic Games this year.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team spent extra time at the White House on Thursday after President Barack Obama delivered a speech to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman did the splits with Obama, and even lifted vegetable dumbbells with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Gabby Douglas, who had her wisdom teeth removed earlier this week, did not attend the event.

MORE: Simone Biles discusses her future

Katherine Reutter ends early retirement

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 26:  Katherine Reutter of the United States celebrates the silver medal in the Ladies 1000m Short Track Speed Skating Final on day 15 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at Pacific Coliseum on February 26, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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When Katherine Reutter retired in 2013 at the age of 24, she never thought she would return to the ice. Three hip surgeries and two major back injuries left the two-time Olympic short track speed skating medalist in constant pain.

But now Reutter is scheduled to compete this weekend at the U.S. Speedskating Short Track World Cup Qualifier at the Utah Olympic Oval.

“You wouldn’t expect somebody who has been as injured as I have to be back at their best,” Reutter said in a telephone interview from Utah. “I feel like I’m getting close.”

Reutter only started contemplating a comeback last November, after being inspired by attending a World Cup race as a member of the U.S. Speedskating Athlete Advisory Council.

She began a regimen of yoga twice a week and daily 30-minute walks when she returned to Milwaukee, where she was working as a coach for the Academy of Skating Excellence.

“I started off really, really slow,” she said. “I started to work out the amount that a normal person probably should.”

Pain free, Reutter began skating during the practices that she was coaching.

“I noticed the days I came home really happy were the days where I had skated,” she said.

Reutter only started to truly believe that she could return to skating competitively when she clocked times that she described as “pretty darn good” a training camp in Salt Lake City in May and June.

She has learned to listen to her body. After experiencing pain when she scheduled twice-daily workouts six days per week, she scaled back to four or five days per week.

“I don’t really have the option to overtrain like I used to,” she said.

Reutter’s goal this weekend is to earn a placement for the ISU World Cup, which begins Nov. 4-6 in Calgary. Eventually, she would like to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But Reutter would be happy just being, well, happy.

“I am trying to live life to its happiest every single day,” she said, “and speed skating allows me to do that.”

Reutter recently changed her Twitter bio to say “comeback queen.”

“So far I’m the only one who calls me that,” she said, laughing. “I suppose people could get on board eventually”

MORE: Five athletes to know before the 2018 Winter Olympics