Winter Olympian J.R. Celski greets Issaquah fans

March 4, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 12:10 p.m. March 4, 2010

Federal Way native and bronze-medal speed skater J.R. Celski met more than 200 fans during a visit to the Issaquah branch of 24 Hour Fitness on Wednesday evening.

Maggie Iuppa, 9, of Klahanie, meets her Winter Olympics hero, J.R. Celski, on Wednesday at the new 24 Hour Fitness center on East Lake Sammamish Parkway. Maggie, a fourth-grader at Endeavour Elementary School, presented Celski with a shoebox diorama of the speed-skating oval where he won Olympic bronze last month. — Photo by Greg Farrar

For almost two hours, Celski signed autographs, posed for photographs and displayed one of the two bronze medals he won at the Vancouver Olympics last month. The stopover at 24 Hour Fitness — one of Celski’s sponsors — marked his first post-Olympics appearance in the Seattle area.

The skater earned bronze medals in the men’s 1,500-meter race and the men’s 5,000-meter relay at the just-concluded Vancouver Olympics.

Celski, once a champion in-line skater, turned to speed skating after watching another Seattle-area skating legend — Apolo Anton Ohno — at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Ohno earned eight medals at the Vancouver games to become the most-decorated U.S. Winter Olympian ever.

Celski competed in Vancouver after a devastating accident last September during the Olympic Trials. A skate blade gashed his left thigh to the bone, and missed his femoral artery by only a few centimeters. But emergency surgery and intense rehab enabled him to compete in the 2010 games.

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3 Responses to “Winter Olympian J.R. Celski greets Issaquah fans”

  1. Stephanie on March 5th, 2010 8:53 am

    I think J.R Celski should come to the Tri-State Area of NY/NJ where he’ll get alot more fans ( I think). Many of us around really love him, like SERIOUSLY LOVE HIM. Ive been watching him skate for around 2-3 years already so I’ll like to see him in person and take a picture at least one time this year.

  2. Adeline on March 5th, 2010 3:42 pm

    I love love love Jr Celski.
    Although I’m not the biggest fan, I admire him. I’m Filipino and it’s great to have a role model that is my nationality. So I agree with Stephanie and I hope you would come to NJ because I live here and not many celebrities I think come to my state so I’d really enjoy it. I Love J.R !

  3. Stephanie on March 5th, 2010 10:25 pm

    Adeline, what part of NJ do you live in because I live in NJ too.

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