By Bob Celski
This blog is written to keep the proud people of Federal Way informed about one of the city’s sons, short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the experience of his parents, Bob and Sue, during the Olympics.
Sue and I feel indebted to Mayor Jim Ferrell and the City Council for recognizing J.R. as an Olympian at the city council meeting on Tuesday. Feb. 4. He feels the support from Federal Way all the way over in Sochi.
Today is the day we have waited for since our last Olympic experience in 2010. Sue, our son Chris and I flew out of SeaTac Airport at 7:30 a.m. on time, narrowly avoiding a snowstorm that pummeled the Portland area. We were nervous all week that this storm would hit our area and interrupt the start of our adventure.
We were also concerned about another major snowstorm that was to hit the Northeast, but apparently we arrived and depart from New York ahead of this storm. Travel in the winter is so unpredictable. One delay on multi-leg flights cascades into an extended trip. So far, luck is on our side. As I write this we are soon to leave New York for Moscow.
The coverage last night (Friday) on the King 5 Olympic Zone just prior to the Opening Ceremonies had a nice feature on J.R. Aside from showing his story, we are amazed at how much the media is tying him to Macklemore, the Grammy winning artist from Seattle. It makes sense though, as both have recovery stories and through this common theme have formed a friendship.
Prior to the U.S. Olympic Team walking out for the Opening Ceremonies, we were astonished that NBC chose J.R. as one of two athletes to be interviewed. Cris Collinsworth, announcer for NBC Sunday Night Football asked J.R. several questions, ending with J.R. doing a shout out for the Seahawks. J.R. is a very proud member of the 12th Man who got up at 3 a.m. in Sochi last Sunday to watch the Super Bowl. He was very sleepy yet made it through the game but took a short nap during halftime!
Some may be surprised that we wouldn’t know about something like J.R. being selected for such an interview beforehand. As parents, we learned from our Vancouver experience to be “hands-off” of J.R.
During world-level events like this, he is constantly under the gun by the media, fans and sponsors, all while training and maintaining equipment, resting, etc. With such pressure, we don’t want to add to his burden and contribute to him losing focus. So we keep silent, and wait for him to reach out to us even when we are present at the event. As parents, this is a tough pill to swallow but critical to his success. We learned this first-hand during the Olympic Trials back in 2009.