Short Track Speedskating Preview
The U.S. short track speedskating team will enter the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with a solid mix of Olympic veterans and young, up-and-coming athletes who will set the course for the team’s future.

PyeongChang will be the first Olympic Winter Games under the new national team coaches: head coach Anthony Barthell and assistant coach Alex Izykowski. No strangers to the Olympic stage, Izykowski was part of the U.S. short track 5,000-meter relay team that earned bronze in Torino 2006, and Barthell was short track assistant coach with Izykowski in Sochi 2014.

Three-time Olympic medalist J.R. Celski will lead the U.S. men in his third Olympic Games. Despite injuries that sidelined him from the ISU World Cup circuit over the last year, Celski is returning to champion form and won bronze in the men’s 1500m at the world cup in Seoul this season. The 2014 silver medalist is the only returning Olympian skating for the U.S. men’s short track team.

Celski will be joined by four Olympic rookies, including John-Henry Krueger and Thomas Kong, who were part of the men’s 5000m relay team that won gold and set the world record at the world cup in Shanghai during the 2017-18 season. Krueger dominated the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in December, winning every race distance, and Hong took silver in the men’s 500m at the 2016-17 Short Track Junior World Championships.

Rookies Aaron Tran and Ryan Pivirotto will round out the men’s short track team. Tran finished second in the men’s 500m at U.S. Olympic Team Trials, while Pivirotto finished fifth overall to claim the final spot on the team.  

The U.S. women’s short track team will look to 2010 Olympic medalist Lana Gehring and 2014 Olympian Jessica Kooreman to lead in PyeongChang. Gehring, who just missed the Olympic Team in 2014, secured her spot in PyeongChang by winning the women’s 1000m, 1500m and the women’s overall crown at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Kooreman will look to earn her first Olympic medal after her fourth-place finish in the 1,000m in Sochi.

The two returning Olympians will be joined by 17-year-old Maame Biney. Biney made her first world cup team last winter and won a bronze medal in the women’s 500m at the 2016-17 Short Track Junior World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria. She earned her spot on the Olympic Team after winning the women’s 500m distance at U.S. Olympic Team Trials, winning all but one of her six 500m races that day.

The Olympic short track competition will be held at the Gangneung Ice Arena, which is situated next to the long track speedskating venue in the coastal city of Gangneung, South Korea. The venue can seat up to 12,000 people and will also host the Olympic figure skating competitions.

Storylines

  • University of Maryland student Thomas Hong (Laurel, Maryland) joined the U.S. National Team for training in Salt Lake City for the first time in his young speedskating career in 2016. The 20-year old was born in South Korea and lived there for four years before moving to the U.S. Hong was the youngest competitor at the 2014 Olympic Team Trials, in which he finished 11th overall. He found success at the 2016-17 Short Track Junior World Championships, winning silver in the men’s 500m.

  • Maame Biney (Reston, Virginia) has burst onto the U.S. speedskating scene over the last year, winning bronze in the women’s 500m at the 2016-17 Short Track Junior World Championships. Biney became just the second American women to medal at the Short Track Junior World Championships, joining Erin Porter in 1996. She qualified for the 2017-18 Short Track World Cup Team, winning in overall women for AmCup 1. Born in Ghana, Africa, Biney moved to the U.S. with her father when she was five years old and began speedskating in the Washington D.C. area shortly thereafter. She is the first African-American woman to qualify for a U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team.

  • The men’s 5000m relay team had a strong finish to the 2017-18 Short Track World Cup circuit. The team of Keith Carroll Jr., J.R. Celski, Thomas Hong and John-Henry Krueger won gold and set a new world record at world cup in Shanghai. A few weeks later, they added a bronze medal at the world cup in Seoul. Three of the four skaters made the men’s U.S. Olympic Team.

Athletes To Watch

Maame Biney
Biney (Reston, Virginia) burst onto the speedskating scene last year, making her first world cup team and winning bronze in the women’s 500m at the 2016 World Junior Short Track Championships. Biney continued her success this year, moving to Salt Lake City to train with the National Training Program. Biney finished eighth overall in points in the women’s 500m during the 2017-18 World Cup season, and made the U.S. Olympic Team by winning the women’s 500m, finishing first in five of her six 500m races. Biney was born in Ghana and is the first African-American woman to qualify for an U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team. 

J.R. Celski 
Celski (Federal Way, Washington) is the most decorated Olympic skater on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team. The two-time Olympian won the bronze medal in both the 1,500m and 5,000m relay at the Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010. In Sochi 2014, Celski was part of the men’s 5,000m relay that won the silver medal. He has battled injuries over the last two years but returned at the end of the 2016-17 season, winning a bronze in the men’s 1,500m at the world cup in Shanghaithe following season. Celski finished 13th overall at the 2017 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships and was part of the 2017-18 men’s relay team that won two medals (gold and bronze) and set a world record on the 2017-18 World Cup circuit.  

Lana Gehring
Gehring (Chicago, Illinois) captured a bronze medal in Vancouver 2010 as a member of the women’s 3000m relay team. A three-time medalist at the Short Track Speed Skating World Championships, she switched to long track following failing to qualify for the Olympic Team in 2014. After a few seasons on the 400m oval, Gehring started the transition back to short track during the 2016-17 season and qualified for the 2017-18 World Cup Team in August.

Jessica Kooreman 
A 2014 Olympian, Kooreman (Melvindale, Michigan) just missed the podium in Sochi, finishing fourth in the 1,000m and sixth in the 1,500m. During the 2015-16 season, she placed 10th overall in the 1,500m at the world championships in Seoul. Heading into her Olympic debut, she swept the women’s events at the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, winning gold in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events. Kooreman had the best finish among U.S. women at the 2017 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, placing 17th overall.

John-Henry Krueger

Krueger (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) has been making a name for himself on the world cup circuit in the men’s 1,500m. The Pittsburgh native medaled on U.S. ice at the 2016 World Cup in Salt Lake City, Utah, placing third in the 1,500m. He finished seventh overall in the 1,000m and 10th in the 1,500m at the 2016 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships. Krueger was part of the 2017-18 men’s relay team that won two medals (gold and bronze) and set a world record on the 2017-18 World Cup circuit. 

Qualification

The U.S. can qualify a maximum of 10 short track speedskaters, including five men and five women, for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. No more than three U.S. athletes may compete in each of the men’s and women’s 500-, 1,000- and 1,500-meter events, while a maximum of one U.S. team of each gender may be entered in the team relays (women’s 3,000 and men’s 5,000).

National quota spots are earned based on results achieved during the Olympic qualification classifications at four ISU World Cup competitions, to be held between September through December 2017.

Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic qualification procedures for short track speedskating.

Selection

Athletes will be selected to represent Team USA at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games following the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, to be held in December 2017 in Kearns, Utah.

Click here to view the complete 2018 Olympic selection procedures from U.S. Speedskating.


Editor’s Note: This selection process overview is designed to provide general information only and should not be relied upon by athletes attempting to make the U.S. Olympic Team. The selection process is formally governed by selection procedures published by each National Governing Body. Athletes and other individuals interested in the selection process should contact the appropriate NGB to obtain the full selection procedures, or to seek clarification of the process.

Key Dates

Dec. 15-17

U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Short Track

Kearns, Utah