Could the U.S. men’s short track team spoil the South Korean party in PyeongChang?
Certainly if they skate like they did Sunday.
J.R. Celski, John-Henry Krueger, Keith Carroll Jr. and Thomas Hong combined to break the 5000m relay world record at a World Cup in Shanghai.
They clocked 6:29.052, edging South Korea by .024 in the race and taking down Canada’s world record from 2012 by 1.906 seconds. Video is here.
Carroll said they didn’t know they broke the record until a coach informed them.
“We’ve been working hard and this is a long time coming,” Carroll said, according to U.S. Speedskating. “To put it all together and have something go right, feels awesome.”
The victory qualified a U.S. men’s short track relay for the PyeongChang Olympics, where eight nations will vie for medals in February. In 2014, the U.S. men took silver in the relay behind Russia (Celski was part of that team, while Krueger, Carroll and Hong eye their first Olympics).
The U.S. captured bronze in the two Olympics before that.
Sunday’s win also ended a three-year U.S. drought for World Cup victories in any men’s or women’s event.
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Katherine Reutter, racing competitively for the first time since retiring in 2013 at the age of 24, qualified for the 2016-17 Short Track Fall World Cup team.
“It’s really exciting to see the return of Katherine Reutter and have her showing everyone her ability to compete at a high level,” said women’s short track head coach Alex Izykowski to U.S. Speedskating.
Reutter, a two-time Olympic short track speed skating medalist, earned a roster spot by winning the 1000m and 1500m titles at the U.S. Speedskating Short Track World Cup Qualifier this past weekend.
“I had a ton of fun [on Saturday],” Reutter said. “It was great to get back out on the ice, back competing and back with some of the girls that I’ve known for years and years.
Three-time Olympic medalist J.R. Celski had a perfect weekend, winning four race events and all 15 of his race heats.
“Any coach would be pumped to have J.R. [Celski] on their team,” said men’s short track head coach Anthony Barthell. “Since he’s gotten older, he has grown more into the leadership role in terms of him being a vocal leader and not only a leader during training.”
Full 2016 Short Track Fall World Cup team for the first two ISU World Cups, which begins Nov. 4-6 in Calgary and continues Nov. 11-13 at the Utah Olympic Oval:
Keith Carroll Jr.
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