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J.R. Celski wins 500m silver at World Championships after brush with Viktor Ahn

J.R. Celski

attends a United States Short Track press conference ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Main Press Centre (MPC) on February 4, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Matthew Stockman

Three-time Olympic medalist J.R. Celski won his first World Championships medal since 2010, taking silver in the 500m in Montreal on Saturday.

Celski, the 500m world record holder, was in an elite four-man battle in the final of the shortest and most physical short track race. He lined up with 2014 Olympic gold and silver medalists Viktor Ahn and Wu Dajing and 2010 Olympic champion Charles Hamelin.

Wu had the lead on the final lap, ahead of Celski, when the eight-time Olympic medalist Ahn tried to pass Celski on the inside. Celski held his ground, and the Russian and American bumped.

Celski got the better of the contact and held on for silver, .056 of a second behind Wu. Ahn fell to fourth, behind Hamelin, who had won the 1500m on Friday.

Celski, 23, won his ninth career World Championships medal and sixth in an individual race. He skipped the 2011 and 2012 World Championships and did not win any medals in 2013.

South Korean Park Seung-Hi won the women’s 500m in 42.792, edging Great Britain’s Elise Christie. Park added gold to her 1500m bronze from Friday. The top American was Jessica Smith, who bowed out in the quarterfinals.

The World Short Track Championships conclude with the 1000m, 3000m and men’s and women’s relays Sunday.

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