going throughmy mind simultaneously: That I failed; that I didn’t reach my goals; that I’mnot going to go to the Olympics; and that my family just saw me cut my leg wide open.
GA: Did you think your Olympic dream was over?
JRC: I had a lot of goals going into this season.My goals got dramatically changed after this injury. I cut myself basically in half. I had to reassess what I wanted to accomplish this year. I told
myself, Once I get back on the ice and strengthen my leg up, my biggest goal will still be to get a gold at the Olympics.
It’s a big feat. But I’musually pretty good when the odds are stacked againstme. I actually like being the underdog.
GA: Are the comparisons to Apolo Ohno new for you?
JRC: No, I’ve been compared to Apolo pretty much my whole skating career. He’s the reason I switched over to ice skating. Our paths are pretty much the same, but I’ma very different person from him when it comes to “off the ice.” It’s awesome to be compared to such a great athlete—don’t get me wrong on that. But when our personalities are matched, we’re very different—just like everybody else. I try to be myself. I really look up to him in what he’s done with his athletic career, and I’mamazed by the things he’s accomplished.
GA: You’ve actually beat him in races.
JRC: A lot of people would say, “You beat your former idol. How does that feel?” I don’t really look at it like that. Now I look at him like I look at my other competitors. It makes us more competitive with each other, which makes us better on a world level as well.
GA: Like a lot of today’s speedskaters, you started with inline skating.
JRC:My family is a big inline skating family.My dad and I won nationals in the same year. I grew up skating. It was just a fun thing to do. I got more serious
J.R. Celski Bio
Birthday: July 17, 1990 Height: 5’ 8” Weight: 140 lb Birthplace: Monterey, Calif.
CareerHighlights: Won bronze medal in the 1,500-meter race and men’s 5,000-meter relay in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver;won five medals at the ’09World Championships in Vienna.
about itwhen I started winning nationals. I dropped soccer and I dropped hockey, and I kept skating. I got really serious about it when I moved to California with my older brother when I was 14. I was 12 when I started skating ice— after watching Apolo in the Olympics. My brother was my legal guardian. He watched overme.
GA: How do you train for skating off-ice?
JRC:Off-seasonwe do a lot of basic train- ing. I’m out there between two and four hours climbingmountains or getting on the bike…just to get our heart rates up and keep them up for a long time.We’re in the 90-degree position so longwhen we’re on the ice, it’s good to do it off the ice during the summer. During the summer, training ismostly just long, endurance-type stuff.Of course,we do weights to keep strength in our legs during off-season. Aswe gear up for the competitive season, it’smore of the fast-tempo training, sprints and inter- vals.We do a lot of consecutive race drills over and over again.We do a lot of running, dry land, biking, weights.
GA: What about the nutritional demands?
JRC: It’s important to keep our calorie intake up—but not likeMichael Phelps. I take in a lot of vitamins and green, healthy products like omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10 and barley leaves.
I have to multiply these supplements by three after an injury.
GA: How important was Eric Heiden to your recovery?
JRC: He is one of the greatest speed- skaters of all time. This is a very special- ized sport. Even in football you don’t get a cut that severs your wholemuscle. It’s awesome that I had a guywho knows what he’s doing and has been in my position as a speedskater. Itmade me confident that he could nurseme back to health.
GA: What are your plans now after the Vancouver Olympics?
JRC: I’mgoing to keep doing my thing, and wherever my heart takesme, I’ll follow. I’mgoing to college for a year and see how that is. I want something to fall back on.Most athletes get in a routine where they lose focus on education. After the sport, it’s like,
What do I do now?
GA: What’s the best thing about your Olympic experience?
JRC: The coolest thing that happened to me at the Olympics was that I was able to inspire people, and show them that giving up on their goals and dreams is not an option. I am so grateful to be able to share my story with people around the world.
SPRING/SUMMER 2010 | GET ACTIVE! 39
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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