2024 Hall of Fame Induction and Celebration


US Speedskating

Alysha Rummler

Communications Manager


Friday, May 17, 2024



2024 Hall of Fame Induction and Award Celebration

The Hall of Fame Induction takes place tonight in Holladay, Utah


HOLLADAY, Utah – Tonight, May 17, US Speedskating (USS) will hold their annual Hall of Fame induction and awards ceremony for contributions, efforts and performances within speed skating. This year's inductees are Olympic Speed Skater J.R. Celski and contributor to the sport Butch Pearson. The ceremony takes place at the Cottonwood Country Club in Holladay, Utah.


J.R. Celski is a three-time Olympian and three-time medalist in the Winter Olympics. Throughout his career in short track speed skating, he has held five Short Track World and Junior World Records, including World Records in the 500m and 5000m relay and Junior World Records in the 500m, 1000m and 3000m relay.

Celski’s breakthrough performance was at the 2009 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships where he won five medals (two Gold, one Silver, two Bronze). Overall, Celski has won three Gold medals, four Silver medals and four Bronze medals at the World Championships.

Just five months before the 2010 Winter Olympics at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Celski suffered a gruesome injury when he fell during a race and his right skate blade gashed his left thigh all the way to his femur bone. His injury required emergency surgery, 60 stitches, and five months of rehabilitation and he was uncertain if he would ever be able to skate again. Celski went to the Games anyway, and won his first two Olympic medals, Bronze in the 1500m and the 5000m relay.

On October 21, 2012, in Calgary, Canada, Celski became the first person to skate under the 40 second barrier in the 500m event with a time of 39.937 seconds. He held the World Record for this distance for over 5 years, from October 2012 to February 2018.

Then at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Celski placed 4th in the Men’s 1500m, and won Silver in the 5000m relay. He also competed at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games before retiring from speed skating.

Rusty Smith, two-time Olympic medalist and US Speedskating Board Member, said, “J.R. revolutionized the sport of speed skating. He introduced a technique that propelled him to break what many thought was an impossible time barrier of 40 seconds in the 500m. With numerous world medals and three Olympic medals to his name, J.R. solidified that he is one of the best U.S. Short Track skaters of all time.

J.R. Celski said of the induction, “I feel honored and fulfilled with the news of my induction into the Speed Skating Hall of Fame. I never thought when I first put skates on 30 years ago that I would end up in the Hall of Fame. It feels special to have my name recognized alongside some of the greatest to ever do it. Speed skating has given me a lot over the years including lifelong friends, the drive to be better, and invaluable lessons that can’t be learned inside of a classroom. I’m forever grateful for my family, friends, teammates, coaches, and everyone who has supported me along the way - this recognition is for them just as much as it is for me.”

Butch Pearson, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Contributor to the Sport, was born and grew up in West Allis, WI. He spent his childhood skating on flooded football fields at the local grade schools. In 1985, he introduced his children, Erica and Nick Pearson, to the sport of speed skating and has been a volunteer with his wife Althea, ever since.

Pearson currently resides near the Pettit National Ice Center and has been a lap counter and chief timer volunteer for Olympic Trails held there since 1988. He has also volunteered at every World Cup and World Championship held in Milwaukee since that time.

Butch and I go back to the old Outdoor Olympic Rink in Milwaukee when our kids were in their preteens,” said Ernest Krestcshmann, fellow long-time Pettit volunteer, about Pearson.

Butch would be out when the snow was piled high at the edge of the ice, his parka hood around his face that was red from the wind and the cold, but he didn't care, he was out there yelling out the laps to go and when they had a good race going, you could hear the enthusiasm in his voice. Even today, after the races are done for the day, he still has that big old smile on his face, enjoying the races and being a part of it all. Butch richly deserves the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

One of Pearson’s favorite events he has volunteered for is the Special Olympic World Winter Games, one held in 2001 in Anchorage, Alaska and the other in 2009 in Boise, Idaho. As for local and regional events, he has contributed to the success of more events than can be counted for the past 40 years.

On winning the award, Pearson said, “I am truly honored, this was a total surprise. There are many more people who are just as deserving. The key for me is being dedicated and still having fun.


In addition to the Hall of Fame induction, members celebrated winners of four awards for their contributions, efforts and performances within speed skating during the 2023-2024 season.


Congress 2023 Award Winners


USS and USOPC Volunteer Coach of the Year

Pat Wentland


AAC Dedication to Sport

Dan Carney

President’s Award

Paul Golomski


George Howie Award

Olu Sijuwade


Eric Heiden Athlete of the Year

Kristen Santos-Griswold & Jordan Stolz


The US Speedskating Hall of Fame Induction is in conjunction with the USS Annual Congress held May 15-20, 2023. Since its inception in 1960, the Speed Skating Hall of Fame has honored over 90 skaters for their excellence in athletic achievement in the sport of speed skating, and more than 60 contributors for their innovative contributions to the sport and dedication to the speed skating community.


MEDIA NOTE: Media interested in acquiring additional information should contact Alysha Rummler at or 801-417-5374.



About US Speedskating

US Speedskating athletes have won 91 Olympic medals, making it one of the most successful sports in U.S. Olympic history. The organization sets the stage for success by providing support, from local clubs to Olympic teams, and nurtures an atmosphere that encourages growth in the speed skating community. USS is recognized as the governing body for the sport of speed skating in the United States and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Follow us on TwitterInstagram, on Facebook and at