SOCHI, Russia – J.R. Celski channeled his inner Marshawn Lynch on Saturday, blowing off the media after blowing his chances of a medal in the 1000-meter short-track speedskating event.
Celski, seen as the United States' best hope of getting on the podium at the Iceberg Skating Palace, crashed out of the quarterfinals to continue his disappointing run following a fourth-place finish in the 1500.
Then, just like Lynch, the star running back for Celski's beloved Seattle Seahawks in the NFL, he refused to shed any light on his performance and snubbed all requests for comment. So effusive before the Games when asked about his Olympic hopes, Celski suddenly lost his appetite for talking and sped past reporters with his head down.
The scene was all a little farcical. The mixed zone at an afternoon of speedskating isn't exactly the frenetic circus that is media day at the Super Bowl, where Lynch offered but a few words before standing in a corner and keeping mum.
Short track is a sport that needs all the attention it can get and in a few months, when Celski is in the spotlight about as much as a Seahawks practice squad member, he might rue his decision.
U.S. speedskating press officer Jamie Miller was not authorized to shed any light on Celski's refusal to talk – a "no comment" on his "no comment," if you like – after what was yet another disappointing session of speedskating for the Americans.
Celski still has the 500 meters, where he is the current world-record holder, and the final of the 5000-meter relay, and he will need to bring out his "beast mode" to resurrect his Olympics.
[Photos: U.S. men's ice hockey takes on Russia]
U.S. teammates Eddy Alvarez and Chris Creveling were also unable to progress past the quarterfinals of the 1000, which was won by Russia's Victor An. Teammate Vladimir Grigorev claimed silver and Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands took bronze.
Alvarez was desperately unlucky in his round, after he was sent tumbling to the ice when 1500-meter gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada inexplicably fell in front of him. Because Alvarez was only positioned in third place at the time, he was not allowed to advance to the next round by the referee.
"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Alvarez said. "He is a great skater and I didn't expect him to do that. That was kind of a freak accident. He never goes down like that. It happens in the blink of an eye and I couldn't react to it. Next thing I know, my face hurts."
Creveling looked in decent place to move on, but was bumped out on the final lap by Han Tianyu of China and denied a place in the semis.
In the women's 1500, Alyson Dudek was eliminated in the heats and Jessica Smith ousted in the semifinal. Emily Scott managed to make it through to the final after being pushed in her semi, but she fell early on and was never in contention against high-class opposition as China's Zhou Yang took gold.
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