By Karen Price | Nov. 25, 2017, 12:02 p.m. (ET)
J.R. Celski poses for a portrait at the U.S. Olympic Committee/NBC Olympics on April 27, 2017 in West Hollywood, Calif.

 

The 2018 Olympic picture continues to come into focus for the U.S. short track speedskating team.

Through results from the four world cup series events, which concluded last weekend, Team USA was awarded quota spots for five men and three women to compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the International Skating Union announced on Friday.

The next step is to actually fill those spots, which will be based on the U.S. Olympic Team Trials taking place Dec. 15-17 at the Utah Olympic Oval.

The U.S. men’s relay team qualified with its third-place overall ranking in the world cup standings, which allows the team to bring the maximum of five skaters. The U.S. men also earned the maximum three spots in the 500-meter and 1,500-meter, and two in the 1,000-meter.

Among the skaters who will look to fill those spots are two-time Olympian and three-time medalist J.R. Celski, Thomas Hong, John-Henry Krueger and Keith Carroll Jr. The four skaters teamed up to win and set a world record in the 5,000-meter relay at a world cup event in Shanghai earlier this month.

Celski is the only one of the 16 men competing at Olympic trials with Olympic experience. He earned bronze in the 1,500 in 2010 and finished 0.562 seconds off the podium at that distance in 2014. His other top individual results include sixth in the 500 in Sochi and eighth in the 1,000 in Vancouver, making him a strong contender to compete at every distance in PyeongChang.

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The women earned two individual spots in the 500-meter and 1,000-meter and, in the final event of the season, qualified for three spots in the 1,500-meter when Lana Gehring, Katherine Reutter-Adamek and Jessica Kooreman all made it into the semifinals.

The 16-woman field at trials is highlighted by Reutter-Adamek, a two-time Olympic and seven-time world medalist; Gehring, a 2010 Olympic bronze medalist in the relay; and Kooreman, who was fourth in the 1,000 in Sochi. Another favorite for the Olympic team is Maame Biney, the 17-year-old who won bronze at the 2017 junior world championships.

Olympic quota spots were determined by the number of total points skaters collected in the individual distances and relays throughout the world cup, and each team could drop its worst performance in each in a given world cup. Each country will have to confirm the number of spots it will use by Jan. 10.

The U.S. also sent five men and three women to Sochi in 2014.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.