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U.S. Olympic short track trials preview, broadcast schedule

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Olympic medalists J.R. Celski and Katharine Reutter-Adamek headline the U.S. Olympic short track speed skating trials, live on NBC, NBCSN and streaming on NBCOlympics.com from Friday through Sunday.

The top five men and three women from trials in Kearns, Utah, will make up the U.S. Olympic team for Pyeongchang.

The best Olympic medal prospects lie with the men, four of whom teamed up in November to break the 5000m relay world record. The only U.S. speed skating medal in Sochi — a silver — came in that relay.

Celski anchored that relay, earning his third Olympic medal. Celski debuted at the Winter Games in 2010, earning bronzes in the 1500m and the relay five months after needing 60 stitches to sew a left-leg gash caused by his own skate blade in a fall.

He’s also the only U.S. skater to earn an individual World Cup medal in the last 13 months, a pair of bronzes.

Each day at trials, the men and women will twice skate rounds of one of three individual Olympic distances (1500m on Friday, 500m on Saturday and 1000m on Sunday).

For the men, the top two skaters each day are in line to make the Olympic team, unless that results in six different men.

In that case, the runner-up skater with the lowest standing combining all six races will not make the Olympic team. Basically, if and when a skater gets top two in two distances, everyone in the top two for all distances is safe.

If taking the top two each day results in fewer than five different men, then the Olympic team will be rounded out by the next highest-ranked skaters in overall standings combining all six races.

For the women, the winner of each distance will make the Olympic team. If a woman wins multiple distances, then second-ranked skaters in each distance come into play, with priority given to the runner-up with the highest ranking combining all six races.

If the same two women finish first and second in every distance, then the final Olympic spot will go to the third-ranked woman in the 1500m, the only event where the U.S. earned the maximum three Olympic spots.

The U.S. women earned three Olympic spots rather than the maximum five because they failed to qualify a relay for the Olympics for the second straight time.

If Celski is the men’s favorite, then John-Henry Krueger is right behind.

Krueger was the No. 2 U.S. man behind Celski in the fall World Cup season and is the only U.S. skater other than Celski to earn an individual World Cup medal in this Olympic cycle.

The 22-year-old based in the Netherlands was favored to make the 2014 Olympic team but contracted swine flu the week of trials and missed out.

Celski is the only man with Olympic experience competing this week.

The U.S. women are in the midst of a 5 1/2-year World Cup medal drought, but they have experience and a bright young talent.

Reutter-Adamek was the world’s No. 2 skater in 2011 but retired in 2013 due to back and hip injuries. She came out of retirement in 2016 and broke her American record in the 1000m at her second World Cup.

She missed this fall’s first two World Cups due to a January concussion but was the top American at the most recent World Cup in the 1000m and 1500m.

Jessica Kooreman won the 2014 Olympic Trials — and was fourth in the 1000m in Sochi — and looks primed to make her second Olympic team at age 34. She ranks first or second among Americans this season in all three Olympic distances.

Then there’s Maame Biney, a 17-year-old who moved to the D.C. area from Ghana with her father at age 5.

Biney is the top U.S. woman internationally in the 500m after breaking out in August by winning the overall standings in the U.S.’ World Cup qualifier. She also placed seventh overall at last season’s junior worlds, including a bronze in the 500m.

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U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials

Day Time (ET) Events Network
Friday 6:45-8 p.m. 1500m rounds STREAM LINK
8:30-10 p.m. 1500m finals NBCSN | STREAM LINK
Saturday 12-1:45 p.m. 500m rounds STREAM LINK
2:30-4 p.m. 500m finals NBC | STREAM LINK
Sunday 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. 1000m rounds STREAM LINK
1-3 p.m. 1000m finals NBC | STREAM LINK

J.R. Celski, Jessica Smith win medals to close World Short Track Championships

Wu Dajing J.R. Celski Charles Hamelin
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J.R. Celski won the 3000m at the World Short Track Championships to jump from sixth to second in the final overall standings at the close of competition in Montreal on Sunday.

Celski, a three-time Olympic medalist, totaled 55 points combining results from the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m.

He was beaten only by Russian Viktor Ahn, the most decorated Olympic short track speed skater of all time who won the 1000m earlier Sunday.

Ahn had 63 points and won his sixth career overall world title, adding to his five consecutive from 2003 through 2007, when he skated for South Korea as Ahn Hyun-Soo.

Celski, 23, finished second overall at the World Championships for the second time in his career, repeating his feat from 2009. Apolo Ohno is the only non-Korean-born skater to win an overall World Championship since 2001. Ohno won his only overall title in 2008.

Celski’s title in the 3000m was also his second individual distance World Championship, again matching his 2009 victory in the same event.

U.S. Olympian Jessica Smith took second in the women’s 3000m, marking her first individual podium finish at a World Championships. Smith, 30, finished fifth in the overall standings behind South Korean winner Shim Suk-Hee.

Shim, 17 and a three-time 2014 Olympic medalist, swept the 1000m and 3000m on Sunday after winning the 1500m on Friday.

The Chinese women and Netherlands men won the relays to end the competition.

Mikaela Shiffrin finishes 12th in final race of season

Crash collects Emily Scott in short track 1500m final; Yang defends gold

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After advancing into the “A” Final of the women’s short track 1500m final, Emily Scott of the U.S. was collected in a three-person incident with eight laps to go in the race, which was won by Zhou Yang of China.

Scott had taken a brief lead early, but was running in the pack when another skater lost control and fell, taking Scott and a third skater into the boards.

The Springfield, Missouri native was credited with a fifth place finish.

The race continued on, and it was Yang that emerged with the win over Korea’s Shim Suk-Hee and Italy’s Arianna Fontana to defend her Olympic title from four years ago in Vancouver.

In the undercard “B” Final, Scott’s U.S. compatriot, Jessica Smith, finished second after using the outside line to her advantage to take the lead in mid-race.

Canada’s Valerie Maltais, however, took the lead from Smith with three laps to go and quickly left Smith and the rest of the field behind.

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SHORT TRACK – WOMEN’S 1500M FINAL
1. Yang Zhou (CHN), 2:19.140
2. Shim Suk-Hee (KOR), 2:19.239
3. Arianna Fontana (ITA), 2:19.416

5. Emily Scott (USA), 2:39.436
7. Jessica Smith (USA – 2nd in B Final)