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Men's short-track speedskating relay ends in surprise

Published On: Feb 21 2014 12:53:45 PM CST
Sochi 2014 Olympics 1

Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

The U.S. took home its first speedskating medals of the Sochi Games on Friday, winning silver in the men's short-track 5,000-meter relay.

J.R. Celski, Jordan Malone, Eddy Alvarez and Chris Creveling combined to win the medal, ending what has been a disappointing losing streak in Sochi for the Americans in both short-track and long-track speedskating.

Russia delighted the home crowd by outlasting the U.S. for gold in the event with China taking bronze.

The teams from America, Russia and Kazakhstan got an initial boost when skaters from the Netherlands and China fell on the very first lap, forcing the Dutch and Chinese teams to play catch-up the rest of the race.

Team USA won bronze at 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with a team that included Celski and Malone. Alvarez and Creveling made their Olympic debuts in Sochi.

Besides his bronze in the relay in Vancouver, Celski also won a bronze in the 1,500 meters four years ago. The 23-year-old Federal Way, Wash., native finished fourth in the 1,500 and 13th in the 1,000 earlier in the Sochi Games and sixth in the 500 earlier Friday. He's also been the part of two teams that have won world championship medals in the relay, gold in 2009 and silver in 2010.

Malone, a 29-year-old Texan, was also a part of those teams at the 2009 and 2010 world championships. He raced in only one other event in Sochi, finishing 28th in the 500 meters earlier on Friday.

Alvarez, 24, is a former inline skater from Miami, Fla. He is also the first Cuban-American male speedskater to make a U.S. Olympic team. His best result in Sochi before Friday came with an 11th-place finish in the 1,000 meters.

Creveling, a 27-year-old New Jersey native, finished 21st in the 1,500 meters and 10th in the 1,000. He currently holds the American record in the 1,000.