Four American short-track speedskaters who live and train in Utah won their second straight medal of the World Cup season on Sunday, brightening hopes that they can thrive at the Sochi Olympics in Russia four months from now.
Eddy Alvarez, J.R. Celski, Chris Creveling and John-Henry Krueger raced to silver in the men's 5,000-meter relay on the final day of a World Cup event in Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday, just a week after winning gold at the season-opener in Shanghai, China.
"The U.S. team based at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns has won only two individual medals so far, bronzes by Alvarez in the 500 and Jordan Malone in the 1,000 in Shanghai, in the first full season after allegations of coaching abuse tore the team apart and led some members to leave the national racing program to train on their own. Malone and Jeff Simon also are part of the relay pool who skated earlier rounds in Seoul." Amid their chaos, the Americans did not win a single medal at the world championships last season, and don't have any strong favorites to win medals in Sochi.
Promisingly, however, the men's relay team is comprised of both skaters who train in the national program at the oval and those who train on their own under former national-team coach Jae Su Chun, suggesting the schism that developed last season isn't affecting performance in the relay.