BEIJING, China — Federal Way’s J.R. Celski is at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing this year, but the Olympian is not competing. Instead, he's working media relations for the U.S. speedskating team.
Celski is the top U.S. short track speedskater of the last decade. He's a three-time Olympian and a three-time Olympic medalist.
Celski also earned eight world championship medals, but it's the Olympics that hold a special place in his heart.
"They're a unique place,” said Celski. “I think it's just the pinnacle for an athlete in a sport that doesn't have a professional setting.”
After the 2018 games in South Korea, Celski announced his retirement.
"It's hard at first for sure, but at the end of the day, I show up in the rink sometimes, and I'm like, man, I'm so impressed still, but I don't miss any part of the training anymore, to be honest with you," said Celski.
Since his retirement, Celski co-founded a skating accessory and apparel company and started up his own media business, which works closely with U.S. Speedskating.
Even though he's retired from competition, Celski is still around the team and is excited to see a tradition being carried on.
Since 1994, there's been a skater from the Pacific Northwest in every Winter Olympics.
"It's special to see the progress of the team, especially in the last couple years, you know, since Korea,” said Celski. “It's a young team with up and comers, and I'm really excited to see their progress and really see how it plays out in a high-level competition like the Olympics.”