Team USA won the bronze medal in the men’s 5,000-meter relay to close the fourth stop of the world cup season Sunday at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung, Korea. The weekend served as the test event for the venue that will host short track speedskating at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
J.R. Celski, Thomas Hong, John-Henry Krueger and Keith Carroll earned the medal with a time of 6:51.532, 9.303 seconds off the winning pace set by the Hungarian team. The Americans had crossed the line in fourth, but were moved onto the podium when the host Korean team was penalized for impeding.
In his second world cup of the season after sitting out the first two with an overuse injury, Celski posted his best individual showing of the year by winning the 1,000-meter B final with a time of 1:26.566.
“I was really happy to make an appearance back in the finals of world cup racing today,” said the two-time Olympian to US Speedskating. “It’s been a hard journey to get back to this point, but I’m really pleased with the results and can’t wait to keep moving forward.”
The relay bronze was Celski’s 15th world cup medal, the seventh as part of a relay. He also has two Olympic medals in the event, a silver in 2014 and bronze in 2010, in addition to his 1,500-meter bronze from 2010.
“We went out there and fought a tough race,” he said. “We had some luck on our side, but we also fought through some adversity to make an A final and secure some world cup points.”
Krueger just missed the podium in Saturday’s 1,500-meter. Hoping to back up the bronze he earned last month at the Salt Lake City stop, Krueger logged a time of 2:14.670, 0.247 seconds behind Russia’s Semen Elistratov to finish fourth.
The athletes now turn their attention to the U.S. championships, which will be held Jan. 6-8 at the Utah Olympic Oval. The world cup schedule resumes Feb. 3-5 in Dresden, Germany.