Jan 4, 2014, 5:34 PM EDT
J.R. Celski and Jessica Smith dominated again, and two more skaters qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team at the short track trials Saturday.
Celski and Smith, who won the 1500m on Friday, swept 500m races Saturday to earn Olympic berths in a second distance. Eddy Alvarez
and Emily Scott finished second, again, on Saturday to clinch their first Olympic berths.
The U.S. Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Trials conclude with 1000m races at the Utah Olympic Oval on Sunday. Four more skaters will earn Olympic spots.
Alvarez is in line to join Celski in both the 500m and 1500m in Sochi given they both went one-two in the events the last two days. The U.S. has one other Olympic spot in those events. Who will fill it is yet to be determined.
Alvarez, 23, is one of three U.S. men’s skaters to win individual World Cup medals this season. “Eddy the Jet” is from Miami, the son of Cuban immigrants, and a former inline skater and all-conference shortstop at Salt Lake Community College.
He’s been skating with Celski since they were 6, dating to their inline days. Celski already has one Olympics under his belt. Now, Alvarez gets to join him in Sochi.
“It sounds pretty awesome, don’t you think?” Alvarez said on NBCSN before performing a special handshake with Celski.
Earlier Saturday, John-Henry Krueger scratched out the 1500m with the swine flu, which has had a recent outbreak in Salt Lake City. Krueger, a World Cup medalist this season, was a favorite to make the Olympic Team before the trials.
He was fourth in four- and nine-lap time trials Thursday but did not qualify for either A final in the 1500m on Friday. He could still earn a spot on the Olympic Team on Sunday, if he competes and fares well.
Whoever finishes first or second in the 1000m Sunday will make the Olympic Team. Whatever spots still available will then go to the next highest skaters in the overall standings.
That makes the next three highest men in the overall standings – 2010 Olympian Jordan Malone, Kyle Carr and Chris Creveling – the favorites to secure the final three men’s Olympic berths Sunday.
One Olympic spot is left to be determined on the women’s team. Scott, 24, was unaware that all she had to do was finish second behind Smith in the final 500m race Saturday to clinch an Olympic berth.
“I’m speechless,” Scott said on NBCSN after learning she made her first Olympic Team. “I didn’t even know until my coach brought me over and congratulated me. It’s been a long time coming.”
The winner of the women’s 1000m standings Sunday will make the Olympic Team. If that winner is Smith or Scott, the second-place skater will make the Olympic Team. If Smith and Scott go one-two, in either order, the top skater in the overall distance standings will make the Olympic Team.
Here are the individual distance standings:
Men’s 500m — FINAL
1. J.R. Celski — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Eddy Alvarez — 1,920 (clinched Olympic berth)
1. J.R. Celski — 500
2. Chris Creveling — 400
3. Eddy Alvarez — 320
4. John-Henry Krueger — 256
5. Jordan Malone — 205
Men’s 1500m — FINAL
1. J.R. Celski — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Eddy Alvarez — 1,632 (clinched Olympic berth)
Women’s 500m — FINAL
1. Jessica Smith — 2,500 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 1,840 (clinched Olympic berth)
1. Jessica Smith — 500
2. Emily Scott — 400
3. Alyson Dudek — 320
4. Kimberly Goetz — 256
5. Sarah Chen — 205
Women’s 1500m — FINAL
1. Jessica Smith — 2,300 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 2,200 (clinched Olympic berth)
Here are the overall distance standings:
1. J.R. Celski — 5,000 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Eddy Alvarez — 3,552 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Jordan Malone — 2,714
4. Kyle Carr — 2,389
5. Chris Creveling — 2,264
1. Jessica Smith — 4,800 (clinched Olympic berth)
2. Emily Scott — 4,040 (clinched Olympic berth)
3. Alyson Dudek — 3,360
4. Sarah Chen — 2,509
5. Kimberly Goetz — 1,559
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Americans put Olympic struggles behind them.
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Tatyana McFadden made her Winter Paralympic debut.
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