J.R. Celski has opened his Sochi Olympics with a fourth-place finish in the 1,500m final this morning at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
Celski, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist in this distance, advanced into the medal final with a win in his semifinal heat.
But in the main event, he fell back after dueling in mid-race for the lead with Canada’s Charles Hamelin and China’s Tianyu Han.
In the end, it was Hamelin who won out over Han to claim the third Olympic gold of his career. He won two golds on home ice in Vancouver four years ago (500m, 5000m relay).
Taking the bronze was Viktor Ahn, who earned Russia’s first-ever Olympic medal in short track.
It’s the second career Olympic bronze for Ahn, who won three gold medals and his first bronze for South Korea at Torino in 2006 under his birth name, Ahn Hyun-soo.
The Seoul native became a Russian citizen in late 2011.
Meanwhile, Celski still has several events ahead of him in Sochi. So while he was unable to hit the 1500m podium today, he still has a few chances to make an impact.
SHORT TRACK – MEN’S 1500m
1. Charles Hamelin (CAN), 2:14.985
2. Tianyu Han (CHN), 2:15.055
3. Viktor Ahn (RUS), 2:15.062
4. J.R. Celski (USA), 2:15.624
19. Eddy Alvarez (USA), eliminated in semifinals
21. Chris Creveling (USA), eliminated in heats