Men's Relay Wins B Final, Finishes Fifth Overall At 2018 Olympic Games
by Chris Cole
The United State men’s 5000m relay team wrapped up the short track program at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, winning the B Final on Thursday evening at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
JR Celski (Federal Way, Wash.), Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.), John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) won with a time of 6:52.708, finishing fifth overall in the distance.
“It might have been a B Final but we still won that race, so we’re incredibly happy and proud,” Hong said.
Team USA led the three-team race with a conservative pace early. The race became a duel between the U.S. and Kazakhstan when a Japanese skater lost his footing around the first turn in the 38th lap.
With Kazakhstan leading and three laps to go, the U.S. made its move on an exchange to get back in front and hold on, as Celski brought home the win for the Americans. Team USA, which skated its fastest lap in 8.3 seconds, edged Kazakhstan by 0.083 seconds.
“It’s been a fun ride all season,” Celski said. “We’ve had a lot of success. We’ve come back from positions that we didn’t think we could do well from.”
The U.S. finished last week’s 5000m relay semifinal in third place behind Hungary, who won gold, and the Republic of Korea to advance to Thursday’s B Final.
“(The Olympics have) been unreal,” Tran said. “The atmosphere and everything has been a dream.”
Team USA ends the short track program at PyeongChang 2018 with Krueger’s silver medal in the men’s 1000m, the 20th U.S. short track Olympic medal.
“The best way to describe this Olympics would be Genesis,” Krueger said. “Even though it’s cliché, I think it’s just the beginning of my Olympic career and for me to be more dominant on the World Stage.”
For results, post-race interviews and other media information, visit the US Speedskating Media Page.
Quotes from JR Celski
- “We wanted to win it. We put ourselves in a good position to be able to and anything can happen in the A final. It was a clean race so we got fifth.”
- “It’s been a fun ride all season. We’ve had a lot of success. We’ve came back from positions that we didn’t think we could do well from.”
Quotes from Thomas Hong
- “It might have been a B Final but we still won that race, so we’re incredibly happy and proud.”
- “We came in here with some high expectations for the relay. Unfortunately, we’re not leaving with a medal. That bit is a little bittersweet but at the same time the whole experience of it all has been really great to me.”
Quote from John-Henry Krueger
- “The best way to describe this Olympics would be Genesis. Even though it’s cliché, I think it’s just the beginning of my Olympic career and for me to be more dominant on the World Stage.”
Quotes from Aaron Tran
- “(The Olympics have) been unreal. The atmosphere and everything has been a dream. All the sports and all the legends from different countries are all just hanging out together, and we are a big family.”
- “There have been a lot of lessons that I learned (at the Olympics). I hopefully come back to the next Olympics a much stronger skater with better results.”