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Things have changed for JR Celski since he skated out of Vancouver, B.C., with two bronze medals in his first Olympic Games.

Most importantly, he s grown up. The 19 year old who skated in the shadow of his short-track super-star teammate Apolo Ohno will turn 23 in mid-July. The run-up to the Olympics, the stress and frenzy and pressure and joyful madness of the games themselves won t be new to him this time.

It s much different this time. I m a little older, a little more experienced, he said during a recent interview at the Southern California rink where he trains during the off-season.

And with Ohno retired from competition, this is JR s short-track team to lead into Sochi, Russia, next February. It is a responsibility he clearly relishes.

It s a big task. But I am mentally ready to step up and take that role, he said. It s going to be good. I m hoping to lead this team to a lot of medals.

His long-time coach Wilma Boomstra sees a new, mature JR making a push for Sochi. He has worked with her since he was 14 years old.

There s been a big change, a huge change she said.

JR has rededicated himself to his sport in a way she hasn t seen before.

His whole approach to training, his approach to lifestyle, nutrition, everything around him. He s doing the whole package now, she smiled with pride. She has been a second mother to him since JR moved to Southern California to train so many years ago. He s a pro athlete now.

Celski modestly agrees, saying his attitude about his sport, his commitment to his sport has changed.

When I was a kid, I loved to go fast, I loved the speed, I loved to skate. I lost that for a lot of time in my teenage years, I lost that feeling. I was doing it just to do it, he said.

He took a year off after the Vancouver Games. And when it came time to make a decision about skating, he realized he had missed the ice, the sport, the challenge. More than that, he says, he realized this was a calling, something he had been put here to do.

Speedskate he said without hesitation. It s my love, my passion. It took me my whole life to realize that and I finally have.

Now his goals are to stay focused, stay healthy and continue his push to Sochi.

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