John-Henry Krueger Advances To 1000m Quarterfinals

By Chris Cole | Feb. 13, 2018, 8:53 a.m. (ET)

John-Henry Krueger (Pittsburgh, Pa.) advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s 1000m as the short track circuit continued at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Tuesday.

Krueger advanced to the 1000m quarterfinals by finishing his heat in first with a time of 1:25.913.

“I’m happy to advance to the next rounds,” Krueger said. “That was for sure my expectation for today. Taking each race one at a time and making sure I only focus on what I can do. I’m not worried about anyone else. My goal is have everyone in the race worry about me.”

Krueger took the lead late in the first lap and held onto the top spot throughout to advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday, February 17. It marks the second quarterfinals he has advanced to at these Winter Games, as he also made it to the 1500m quarterfinal round.

“At the Olympics, there are no easy races,” Krueger said. “Everybody is at the same level from race one. I feel very dominant in my skating. I think the rest of the competition can see and feel that.”

JR Celski (Federal Way, Wash.) failed to advance to the 1000m quarterfinals, finishing his heat in third with a time of 1:31.812.

“I’m disappointed,” Celski said. “I don’t train to get last or to not podium. To come out here and to not have that opportunity to race for a medal is disappointing, but I gave it my best shot and that’s all I could do.”

The first race of Celski’s heat was abandoned a few laps in after a collision sent Celski and two of his opponents into the barrier, disqualifying Olympic Athlete of Russia Pavel Sitnikov.

After changing out one of his blades, Celski couldn’t take advantage of the restart.

“(The backup blade) feels a little different,” Celski said. “You can’t get a blade to feel exactly like the one that you’re skating on in practice.”

The men’s 5000m relay team, of Krueger, Celski, Aaron Tran (Federal Way, Wash.) and Thomas Hong (Laurel, Md.), finished its semifinal race in third place with a time of 6:36.867 and advanced to the B Final.

“We were pretty confident going into this race,” Hong said. “And I still think we skated it confidently. Things just didn’t go our way.”

Facing Hungary, Japan and the Republic of Korea, Krueger skated Team USA into the lead with 24 laps to go. The U.S. fell back as the pace picked up and the Koreans opened their lead in the race’s final 10 laps.

“Overall, I’m really happy with our performance,” Tran said. “We left it all out there on the ice and we just couldn’t do it tonight.”

The relay team will skate against Japan and Kazakhstan in the B final on Thursday, February 22.

After finishing second in her Olympic debut on Saturday, Maame Biney (Reston, Va.) finished fourth in her heat in the women’s 500m quarterfinals in 44.772 seconds.

Biney, 18, didn’t get a clean start and fell to the back after getting bumped.

“I kind of got bumped and I don’t usually get bumped in the start so it was a big shock to me,” Biney said. “I just need to figure out how to get my rhythm back.”

Biney’s fastest lap time was 8.920 seconds.

“I just have to wait four more years to be able to get back into this big stage,” Biney said. “I can’t wait until those four years. I’m really happy that I was able to get this far.”

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

Short track continues on Saturday, February 17 with the women’s 1500m final and men’s 1000m final. Live coverage of the races will be streamed on nbcolympics.com beginning at 7 p.m. KT (5 a.m. ET).

Quotes from John-Henry Krueger

  • “I’m happy to advance to the next rounds. That was for sure my expectation for today. Taking each race one at a time and making sure I only focus on what I can do. I’m not worried about anyone else. My goal is have everyone in the race worry about me.”
  • “At the Olympics, there are no easy races. Everybody is at the same level from race one. I feel very dominant in my skating. I think the rest of the competition can see and feel that.”

Quotes from JR Celski

  • “I’m disappointed. I don’t train to get last or to not podium. To come out here and to not have that opportunity to race for a medal is disappointing, but I gave it my best shot and that’s all I could do.”
  • “(The backup blade) feels a little different. You can’t get a blade to feel exactly like the one that you’re skating on in practice.”

Quotes from Aaron Tran

  • “We’ve been preparing for it the best we could these past couple months but we couldn’t prepare for each scenario exactly. Anything could have happened. Overall, I’m really happy with our performance. We left it all out there on the ice and we just couldn’t do it tonight.”

Quotes from Thomas Hong

  • “I think we could have just matched our timing on (the push exchanges) a little bit better but we gave it our best shot. And it just sucks that our best wasn’t good enough today.”
  • “We were pretty confident going into this race. And I still think we skated it confidently. Things just didn’t go our way.”

Quotes from Maame Biney

  • “I kind of got bumped and I don’t usually get bumped in the start so it was a big shock to me. I just need to figure out how to get my rhythm back.”
  • “I just have to wait four more years to be able to get back into this big stage. I can’t wait until those four years. I’m really happy that I was able to get this far.”