Three-time Olympic short track speed skating medalist J.R. Celski will compete for the first time since March 2014 at the Desert Classic in Kearns, Utah, this weekend.
Celski, 25, last competed at the 2014 World Championships, placing second in the overall standings behind Russian Viktor Ahn.
One month before that, Celski won his third Olympic medal, a silver in the 5000m relay in Sochi. Ahn was the most decorated male athlete across all sports in Sochi with four medals, three gold.
Celski has taken season-long breaks after each of his two Olympic appearances. He is not committing yet to a run for a third Olympic team in 2018, US Speedskating said Thursday.
“I know that I’m going to take a little time off, regain my bearings, rest the body, rest the mind,” Celski said in April 2014. “I love skating. I really foresee that in my future. I’m just not sure when.”
Sochi Olympians Chris Creveling, a silver medalist on the relay with Celski, and Jessica Smith are also in the Desert Classic field.
Celski’s good friend and relay silver medalist teammate Eddy Alvarez is now playing professional baseball.
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Eddy Alvarez was promoted within the Chicago White Sox organization Wednesday, moving to High A as the Sochi Olympic short track speed skating silver medalist continues to shine 13 months after signing a minor-league deal with the baseball club.
Alvarez, 25, hit .285 with a.408 on-base percentage, two home runs, 23 doubles and 39 RBIs in 89 games for Single-A Kannapolis (N.C.) of the South Atlantic League this season before the call-up to High-A Winston-Salem.
The Miami native nicknamed “the Jet” stole 42 bases and made the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. He led the league in walks (69) and runs scored (64) before his promotion.
Alvarez, a shortstop, earned silver with the U.S. 5000m relay team at the Sochi Winter Games.
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Russian short track speed skater Viktor Ahn wants to compete in one more Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in his birth nation in 2018, according to Russian media.
Ahn, 29, said he would probably decide in 2015 or 2016 if he would strive for a third Olympics in 2018 and that it would be dependent on his health.
Ahn was the most decorated male athlete at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, winning three gold medals and one bronze. He also won three golds and one bronze for South Korea at Torino 2006 before switching to Russia.
If Ahn competes at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics in his home nation against skaters from his birth country, he would be one of the most scrutinized athletes, perhaps the most scrutinized.
NBC Olympic short track analyst Apolo Ohno said last year that Ahn would be warmly received at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“He’ll be an absolute superstar,” Ohno said. “I think they’ll get over [that he competes for Russia]. He’s an anomaly.”
Ahn is two gold medals shy of the career record for a Winter Olympian shared by Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie.
Ahn won the overall World Championship in 2014, one month after the Sochi Olympics, and was shut out of the medals in all events at the 2015 World Championships.
J.R. Celski takes break from short track