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Maame Biney, J.R. Celski & Aaron Tran Punch Their Tickets To PyeongChang

Dec. 16, 2017, 7:46 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Short Track continued today from the Utah Olympic Oval with the men’s and women’s 500m. Maame Biney (Reston, Va.) and John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) were the overall winners in their respective events. As a result, three more skaters were named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic team: Olympic veteran J.R. Celski (Federal Way), and newcomers Biney and Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.).

With Krueger already earning his spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team by winning the men’s 1500m on the first day of racing, it guaranteed second-place finishers from the 500m and 1500m events be named to the team. The double win opened spots for Federal Way natives Celski and Tran, who finished second in the men’s 1500m and 500m, respectively.

“It was amazing (to qualify with Aaron),” said Celski. “We went to the same school and now we are going to the Olympics together. I’m so happy for him and his family, and everyone that supports him.”

Biney stole the show on Saturday, winning all but one of her six 500m races throughout the day. The 17-year-old swept the women’s 500m finals, finishing in 43.291 in the first Final and a personal-best time of 43.161 in the second 500m final.

“When I crossed the finish line, I wasn’t sure what I was thinking,” said Biney. “At first I was like, ‘Hey, cool I won.’ When I realized I made the Olympic Team, I started cheering like crazy.”

Krueger, who earned his spot on the Olympic Team Friday by winning the men’s overall 1500m on the first day of racing, also won the men’s overall 500m with a third-place finish in the 500m #1 and a first-place finish in the 500m #2.

“Last night, I tried not to get too excited and to keep my composure,” said Krueger. “Even though I won the 1500-meter and qualified for the team, I still have to earn my distances in the 500-meter and 1000-meter.”

Tran will be the third Olympic rookie named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, joining Biney and Krueger. He placed second overall behind Krueger in the men’s 500m winning the 500m #1 and finishing fourth in the in the 500m #2.

“Just hearing that I punched my ticket to PyeongChang, I don’t ‘have any words for it,” said Tran. “I’ve been training my whole life for this moment and it’s surreal that I’ve actually made it.”

Celski will be heading to his third Winter Games, after finishing second overall in the men’s 1500m on the first day of Trials.

“It’s amazing to be going to my third Olympics,” said Celski. “I’m really excited to be a part of Team USA and go represent the U.S. in Korea.”

For results, post-race interviews and other media information, visit the US Speedskating Media page here.

The entire U.S. Olympic Short Track Speedskating Team will be formally named at the conclusion of the weekend’s races and will consist of five men and three women skaters, subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

Sunday marks the final day of racing from the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Short Track with the men’s and women’s 1000m. Live coverage of the races will be on NBC beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be held in South Korea from February 9-25, 2018. Both Long and Short Track will be held in the Gangneung coastal cluster with all Olympic competitions for Short Track Speedskating to be held at the Gangneung Ice Arena, which will also be the host of Figure Skating, and has a seating capacity of 12,000.

Quote from Maame Biney, 500m Women’s Overall Winner

  • “When I crossed the finish line, I wasn’t sure what I was thinking. At first I was like, ‘Hey, cool I won.’ When I realized I made the Olympic Team, I started cheering like crazy.”
  • “I can’t believe it. It’s a really good feeling but I have to still let it sit in first. It takes me awhile before I’m like ‘Holy Cow!’”

Quotes from John-Henry Krueger, 500m Men’s Overall Winner

  • “Last night, I tried not to get too excited and to keep my composure. Even though I won the 1500-meter and qualified overall, I still have to earn my distances in the 500-meter and 1000-meter.”

Quote from Aaron Tran, second-place finisher 500m

  • “Just hearing that I punched my ticket to PyeongChang, I don’t ‘have any words for it. I’ve been training my whole life for this moment and it’s surreal that I’ve actually made it.

Quote from J.R. Celski, Three-Time Olympic Medalist

  •  “It’s amazing to be going to my third Olympics, It sounds amazing to me and I’m really excited to be a part of Team USA and go represent the U.S. in Korea.”
  • “It was amazing (to qualify with Aaron). We went to the same school and now we are going to the Olympics together. I’m so happy for him and his family, and everyone that supports him.”

Support the U.S. team as they inch closer to PyeongChang 2018 by donating to US Speedskating. With your donation of $50 or more, you will receive a 10-pack of the official team pins that are sure to be one of the hottest items in Korea. Get yours now by clicking on the image below.