Federal Way native J.R. Celski won three Olympic Medals over the course of three Olympic Games. But he announced Wednesday night that he's retiring from competitive speed skating.
J.R. Celski, a three-time Olympic medalist, announced his retirement from short track speed skating on Wednesday with a heartfelt note on his website.
“I’ve contemplated writing this for months now. A part of me didn’t even want to do it in the first place. I just didn’t know how I could possibly put it into words. I wasn’t ready until now,” Celski wrote. “I’m hanging them up for good. It feels strange to finally say that, but I know in my heart that it’s the right time.”
Celski, 28, grew up in Federal Way and has represented the United States in three Olympic Games. He won two bronze medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He competed in the 2018 Pyongchang Olympics but did not medal.
Celski’s speed skating career will be most fondly remembered for his gutsy comeback to compete in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics after he sustained a deep, life-threatening gash in his thigh during an accident five months earlier. Celski fell awkwardly while racing at U.S. Olympic Trials and the blade of his right skate sliced into his left leg and almost hit his femoral artery. The cut required 60 stitches to close.
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Celski battled back through rehabilitation and earned two medals in Vancouver.
“I always wanted my story to be one of inspiration,” Celski wrote. “I’ve had a great run, and I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to share my story.”