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Winter Olympics 2014: 10 Interesting Facts About J.R. Celski

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10 Interesting Facts About J.R. Celski

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The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are approaching quickly. While not as popular as its summer counterpart, the Winter Olympics will nonetheless still draw interest from viewers who want to see athletic competition and amazing stories of athletes who compete at the Games.

Following the retirement of Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated United States Olympian ever, the American squad heading to Sochi will need to step it up in order to replace the on-ice performance and the off-ice qualities of a man who won eight Olympic medals at the Salt Lake City, Turin and Vancouver Games. While many of the athletes on the television screen this year will be new faces, there certainly are some who are ready to represent a new generation of stardom for US winter athletes.

One of those athletes heading to Sochi looking to replace Ohno's starpower is J.R. Celski. Also a short track speed skater, Celski was at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and won two bronze medals in the 1500 meter and 5000 meter relay distances alongside Ohno. With Ohno gone, Celski has carried the torch ever since as the face of American short track speed skating and will be looking to continue the success that American men have had in the discipline at the Olympics.

While it remains to be seen whether or not Celski can replicate Ohno's performance on the ice, his personality off the ice is certainly interesting as well. Here are 10 interesting things to note about J.R. Celski.

Percy Chao is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @PercyChao, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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10. Suffered Serious Injury at 2010 Olympic Trials

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At the 2010 Olympic Trials, Celski cut his left thigh so badly that medics were called to the ice to clean up blood and performing emergency stitches. Celski's hopes of making it back in time for the Olympics were seriously in jeopardy.

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9. Bronze Medalist at 2010 Olympics

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Despite the odds, Celski miraculously made it back in time for the 2010 Games. In fact, he would win two bronze medals in both the team relay and in the 1500 meters, the same event that Ohno would win silver.

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8. Missed 2006 Olympics Minimum Age by 17 Days

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Celski missed the minimum age requirement of 16 years old for the 2006 Olympics by 17 days. This was quite an unfortunate event as Celski could have performed quite well.

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7. Former In-line Skater

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Like many other short track speed skaters, Celski started off as an in-line skater but moved to short track after watching Ohno compete at the 2002 Olympics.

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6. Accepted to UC Berkeley

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Following the 2010 Olympics, Celski was scheduled to begin attending college at UC Berkeley that same year in the fall.

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5. Interested in Seattle Art Scene

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Instead of attending college, Celski started a project on the Seattle hip hop scene called "The Otherside."

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4. Close Friends with Macklemore

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Along the way, Celski met fellow Seattle native Macklemore. Celski compiled footage of the local's underground work Macklemore was a part of before becoming mainstream this past year.

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3. Fan of Seattle Seahawks and Richard Sherman

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Being a Seattle native, Celski will have a decided rooting interest this Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Celski's favorite player is Richard Sherman and although Celski maintains a relatively quiet demeanor compared to the loud-mouth Sherman, Celski routinely is seen wearing Sherman's jersey at skating events and the two converse on Twitter fairly often.

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2. Polish-Filipino

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Celski's father is of Polish descent and served in the US army while Celski's mother is of Filipino descent.

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1. Best Chance at a Medal for US Short Track at 2014 Olympics

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Even without Ohno, the US short track speed skating team will still have high hopes for the event at the 2014 Olympics thanks to Celski's pedigree, previous experience and success at the previous Olympics.