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Final Skaters Named To U.S. Olympic Team As Short Track Trials Conclude

Dec. 17, 2017, 7:55 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Short Track concluded today from the Utah Olympic Oval with the men’s and women’s 1000m. John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) completed his sweep of the men’s individual distances, winning the men’s 1000m, while Lana Gehring (Glenview, Ill.) won the women’s 1000m. As a result, three more skaters were named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team - Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.), Jessica Kooreman (Melvindale, Mich.) and Ryan Pivirotto (Ann Arbor, Mich.) – finalizing the US Speedskating nominations.

The women’s third and final Olympic spot was up for grab’s entering the final day, and Kooreman cemented her spot on the final women’s race of the day. The 2014 Olympian needed to finish in the top three of the women’s 1000m A Final to snag the spot from Katherine Reutter-Adamek (Champaign, Ill.) and Kristen Santos (Fairfield, Conn.).

“Nothing like leaving it to the very end and the very last race, then falling at the very end and getting taken out,” said Kooreman. “I looked up and saw my coach LinLin Sun yelling at me to get to the line and all I knew is that I didn’t care. I was going to get up, get to the line and know that I crossed third no matter what.”

Kooreman was taken down when Santos fell with one lap left in the women’s 1000m A Final, but she was able to recover quickly and cross the line in third securing her spot.

“I went to battle this whole entire competition and I fought through everything that came my way, every challenge,” said the 2014 Olympian. “This definitely challenged me going into the end of my career. I didn’t know if it was going to be over today or if it was going to be over after Korea. I’m glad that I fought mentally and stayed strong and now I get to finish my career where I wanted to.” 

Krueger, who earned his 2018 U.S. Olympic Team spot on Friday, didn’t take his foot off the pedal, winning both men’s 1000m to ensure that he swept every men’s individual distance over the three-day event.

“I have a reputation for racing poorly at Trials and domestically,” said Krueger. “I race better on the international stage but I was able to transfer my international racing to the home ice. I’m really happy about that.”

Krueger and Celski finished first and second overall in the 1000m standings, allowing the fourth and fifth overall men’s points-getters from the weekend to qualify for the team. Olympic newcomers Hong and Pivirotto, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

“It’s amazing,” stated Pivirotto. “My dreams and goals ever since I started skating have come true. I’m so proud to be part of Team USA and to be in PyeongChang for the Olympics.”

For Hong, his nomination means that he will be skating in front of his friends and family in his birth country of South Korea.

“I’m tremendously excited (to be competing in Korea),” said Hong. “I’m extremely familiar with Korean culture. I’ve lived there for parts of my life and I’m excited to go back.” 

Both Krueger and Gehring earned the most overall points in their respective classifications over the three-day competition. Krueger won all but two A finals, finishing second in the men’s 1500m #1 and third in the 500m #1. Gehring won three of the six women’s A Finals and continues a streak of having an Illinois speed skater representing the U.S. at every Winter Games since 1924.

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.

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.

Quotes from Jessica Kooreman

  • “Nothing like leaving it to the very end and the very last race, then falling at the very end and getting taken out. I looked up and saw my coach LinLin Sun yelling at me to get to the line and all I knew is that I didn’t care. I was going to get up, get to the line and know that I crossed third no matter what.”
  • “I went to battle this whole entire competition and I fought through everything that came my way, every challenge. This definitely challenged me going into the end of my career. I didn’t know if it was going to be over today or if it was going to be over after Korea. I’m glad that I fought mentally and stayed strong and now I get to finish my career where I wanted to.” 

Quote from John-Henry Krueger

  • “I have a reputation for racing poorly at Trials and domestically. I race better on the international stage but I was able to transfer my international racing to the home ice. I’m really happy about that.”

Quote from Ryan Pivirotto

  • “It’s amazing. My dreams and goals ever since I started skating have come true. I’m so proud to be part of Team USA and to be in PyeongChang for the Olympics.”

Quote from Thomas Hong

  • “I’m tremendously excited (to be competing in Korea). I’m extremely familiar with Korean culture. I’ve lived there for parts of my life and I’m excited to go back.”  

Quotes from Head Coach Anthony Barthell

  • “We have a great team. This is probably the most stressful competition I have ever been a part of, even when I was a competitor, but the team we are going with is an extremely strong team.”
  • “John-Henry has been a talent ready to be unleashed, and he did it this weekend.”
  • “Lana has been skating out of her mind. Technically, she has never skated this well. She’s been putting in some great work.”

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.