Aaron Tran Reaches B Final In First Olympic Event

By Chris Cole | Feb. 10, 2018, 10:35 a.m. (ET)

Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) advanced to the B final of the men's 1500m in his Olympic debut as the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team opened the first day of the Short Track circuit at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

 

Tran finished the event in 14th place after coming in fifth in his second-ever B final.

 

“For me, I treated it just like any other race," Tran said. "I’ve been in a couple World Cups now and I just went in there racing how I usually do.”

Tran took the lead early in the final at the Gangneung Ice Arena, but fell behind as the pace picked up in the final laps, finishing in 2:27.127.

“It’s the biggest stage that we have," Tran said. "You can’t really put it into words. You go out there and everyone’s just happy to see you no matter how you do.”

Tran advanced to the B final with a fourth-place semifinal finish (2:13.487).

Skating in the same semifinal as Tran, John-Henry Kreuger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) failed to advance after being penalized for a collision with Hungary's Liu Shaolin Sandor in the 12th lap.

“Part of the sport is to take the good calls and the bad calls," said Kreuger, who won his heat in 2:15.671.

"Tonight, I’m going to have to accept this call and make sure it doesn’t squash my confidence for the upcoming races. I still have the 500m, 1000m and relay to go so my Olympics is definitely not over.”

 

Three-time Olympian J.R. Celski (Federal Way, Wash.) also failed to advance out of his 1500m semifinal due to a penalty. Celski reached the semifinals with a third-place finish in his heat (2:19.028).

“My goal was to go out there and just leave it all out there," Celski said. "It’s unfortunate to come up short but at the same time I have two more races left. I get to refocus and get a shot at those.”

In the women's 500m heats, 18-year-old Maame Biney (Reston, Va.) finished second in her first Olympic race to advance to the quarterfinals.

“The first race is always nerve-wracking for me so I’m glad I got this out of the way," Biney said. "I’m ready to go out there and kill it.”

Biney rode a strong start to control second place throughout her heat, holding off a late push by Korea's Kim A-Lang to finish in 43.665 seconds.

“The plan was to block (A-Lang) as long as I could and if she tried to pass on the last lap then she would have to take the outside," Biney said. "I think it was the best block I have ever done.”

Biney will skate in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, February 13.

Lana Gehring (Glenview, Ill.) missed the 500m quarterfinals by just 0.1 seconds after finishing her heat in third place with a time of 43.825. Starting from the outside position, Gehring was stuck behind her opponents from the beginning and couldn't find room to make a move into the top, two despite closing the distance in the final lap.

“I have a week until my better races but I was still happy with my results and that I was able to catch up at the end,” Gehring said.

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

Short track continues on Tuesday, February 13 with women's 500m, men's 1000m and men's 5000m relay. Live coverage of the race will be streaming on nbcolympics.com beginning at 5 a.m. ET.

Quotes from Aaron Tran

  • “It’s the biggest stage that we have. You can’t really put it into words. You go out there and everyone’s just happy to see you no matter how you do.”
  • “I just went into every race trying to finish the highest I could.”
  • “Knowing everyone’s out there showing you unconditional support, it’s just really uplifting.”
  • “For me, I treated it just like any other race. I’ve been in a couple World Cups now and I just went in there racing how I usually do.”

Quotes from Maame Biney

  • “[Coach] Anthony [Barthell] and I had a plan and it worked. I’m ready to go out there on Tuesday and just let it rip.”
  • “The first race is always nerve-wracking for me so I’m glad I got this out of the way. I’m ready to go out there and kill it.”
  • “The plan was to block [Kim A-Lang] as long as I could and if she tried to pass on the last lap then she would have to take the outside. I think it was the best block I have ever done.”

Quotes from John-Henry Kreuger

  • “Part of the sport is to take the good calls and the bad calls. Tonight I’m going to have to accept this call and make sure it doesn’t squash my confidence for the upcoming races. I still have the 500m, 1000m and relay to go so my Olympics is definitely not over.”
  • “I’m going to look at the replays, see what I can improve, talk to my coaches and get a good night’s rest.”
  • “I want to treat this Olympics like a very popular World Cup competition. During the World Cups here, the crowd is just like this. It feels like a second home to me since I lived here for two years. I think that's definitely an advantage for me.”

Quotes from J.R. Celski

  • “My goal was to go out there and just leave it all out there. It’s unfortunate to come up short but at the same time I have two more races left. I get to refocus and get a shot at those.”
  • “The field is really heavy and I really wanted to make it out to the A final for the medal round but you never know who is going to make it nowadays. I gave it my best and that’s all I could have done.”

Quote from Lana Gehring

  • “I have a week until my better races but I was still happy with my results and that I was able to catch up at the end."