Less than a month away and we’ve got Olympic fever! We’ve already covered Mirai Nagasu and Julie Chu for you. Now check out cutie J.R. Celski, who’ll be competing for the U.S. short track speedskating team in Vancouver.
The Filipino-Polish American is considered the next Apolo Anton Ohno for his prowess on the ice and his charisma off. At 19, he’s already a five-time medalist at the 2009 World Championships. He was the two-time U.S. Junior overall champion in 2007 and 2008.
Originally from Washington, J.R. has been skating since he was 3. He began speedskating after seeing Ohno at the 2002 Winter Olympics, and quickly emerged as a skating prodigy. He missed the minimum age requirement for the 2006 Winter Olympics by 17 days, but he’s here now and he’s ready to medal.
Some fun facts about J.R.:
* His full name is John Robert. He was named after his father Robert John, and his mother’s late brother Al Mendoza Sabado, Jr., whose nickname was JR.
* He’s a serious poker player.
* J.R. will start college at the University of California, Berkeley, after the Olympics.
* He’s a big outdoorsman — camping, hiking, boating, surfing and fishing. He’s even into golf.
* His backup career plan? Architect.
Wanna know more? Go to NBCOlympics.com or TeamUSA.org, your one-stop shop for all things Olympics.
You can also check out all sorts of fun info about J.R. (including adorable childhood photos!) at his official website here.