J.R. Celski hangs up his skates ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


7 novembre 2018

J.R. Celski hangs up his skates

After a career that saw him become a three-time olympic medallist and holder of the world record on 500m for six years, United-States' great J.R. Celski announced today that he was retiring. 

A new chapter

I’ve contemplated writing this for months now. A part of me didn’t even want to do it in the first place. I just didn’t know how I could possibly put it into words. I wasn’t ready until now.

I’m hanging them up for good.

It feels strange to finally say that, but I know in my heart that it’s the right time. I didn’t think it would affect me as much as it has, like I was going to be immune to the emotions that come along with retirement or something. I felt like I could just sneak out under the radar and carry on with the next chapter in my life. I don’t know how else to say it other than I needed to finally face the reality of things.

As I sit here and look back on my career, it stirs up so many emotions inside of me that I don’t even know what to begin talking about. I just knew that I didn’t want this to be a typical retirement story. Thank you to everyone, blah blah blah. I didn’t feel like that would do anyone justice for the amount of energy, love and work they have put into me.

First of all, I have been so fortunate to have stood on the shoulders of giants. My family has been my rock since the jump. If it weren’t for them I don’t even know if I would have lived to see this day. My Mom and Dad who allowed me to chase my dreams without question. My brother Chris who took me under his wing and made it possible for me to start training for Short Track. My brother David who I wanted to be like so bad growing up. Thank you guys for hanging in there with me. For that I am forever grateful.

I always wanted my story to be one of inspiration. I’ve had a great run, and I’m thankful that I’ve gotten to share my story. Traveling and seeing different corners of the world. Making friends from all over the place. Sharing conversations about how our differences should be celebrated and appreciated. I have so much love for life and what it has to offer. We truly are blessed to be alive in this day and age.

There were several instances of success and reaching new heights, where I felt like I was on top of the world. Everything felt right and the energy was flowing at an unimaginable rate. I appreciated these moments because I knew the amount of work I had put in to get there. Beauty is born out of struggle and I realized this when I was standing in a place I had never been before. To see everything come together at the right moment in time is something that I have a hard time explaining. This was most fulfilling when I was able to have success alongside my teammates. When we were all standing on the podium together. We were each others crutches in times of need and lifted each other to victory all at the same time.

There were also several instances when I wanted to throw in the towel. Times where I was skating my best, on the path to winning, and then some kind of setback surfaced. It happened time and time again. I felt discouraged at first when things like this happened because I knew the amount of work that I put in to reach new heights. I could’ve sat there and felt sorry for myself. I could’ve given up and said that it was too hard. I could’ve looked at the people around me and blamed them. No. None of this made me feel real, so I chose the opposite. I learned from my mistakes and never shied away from failure. I believe failure builds character and teaches some of the most important lessons in life.

In retrospect, I never looked at any obstacle I’ve faced as a hindrance, only an opportunity to learn and better myself each and every day.

I firmly believe that life was not meant to be easy by any means. It’s meant to test us in ways we were never prepared for. What meaning would life have if everything was simple and no challenges presented themselves. After all, the most celebrated and inspirational stories told in this world are born out of struggle. They are stories of man and woman’s ability to overcome some form of hardship, and go on to do something great. It shakes us to our core every time, without failure. It is the very thing that defines us as humans.

When you’re at the lowest point, and you feel like everything is going against you. When you’ve exhausted all of your energy and every single cell in your body is telling you to quit, you have finally started living. It’s only in moments like these where we learn about ourselves and who we are at our very foundation. It is only in moments like these where we can decide who we are going to become. It is only in moments like these where a life changing positive outlook can be found and ultimately take precedence over negativity in those who allow it.

With that, I tell you this. It is possible to do anything you wish to do. Our ability to need and want is the very thing that drives us to be the best we can be. That in itself is an inherent gift. Go on and chase whatever goal it is that you have. Go until you feel like you’ve given everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Do it first of all for yourself. Second of all for those around you that love and believe in you, and third, for everyone that says you couldn’t do it. I promise in the end, no matter the result, it won’t be a waste of time. You have the ability to move mountains and make a positive impact on the world. Let this guide you to doing great things in your lifetime.

Harness and spread love like it was the only thing that ever mattered. Love is single handedly the greatest thing on earth. It is reason enough to wake up every morning and be happy to be alive. It challenges and rewards and isn’t biased towards anyone. Serve others around you unconditionally and the gratitude you receive will fill you more than any win or accolade ever could.

The love I have for skating will always be present. I loved winning and loved losing just as much because it drove me to want to win again. I loved giving everything I had inside of me. These were the moments where I thought the least. The moments where I was most present and felt the most peace. I took pride in my technique and being as efficient as possible. I loved the feeling of gliding and making impossible passes a reality. A teammate of mine once told me, we are meditating in its purest form while we are skating. What a great way to describe it. My skates became an expression and extension of myself, my personality, my being. The way I was able to feel the ice represented how I felt inside.

Short Track tested my limits and challenged my existence. Speed, power, agility, endurance, balance, strategy, patience, awareness, risk, trust. Defying the laws of gravity and setting up passes at the same time. All of this while wearing a skin tight suit. What more could you ask for? Short Track is a thing of beauty. It simply is one of the hardest sports in the world. It requires a lifetime of training, incredible work ethic, patience, belief in yourself and those around you, trust in the preparation process, big lungs, strong legs, and unlike many sports all of this is happening at 30+ miles per hour with 17 inch knives strapped to our feet.

I’ll say it again. I’ve been fortunate to have stood on the shoulders of giants. My soon to be Wife. Family. Friends. My agent. Coaches and Teammates. Doctors and Therapists. Sponsors. Fans. Competitors. You know who you are. I love you all.

To all that believed in me from the beginning, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I cannot express the gratitude I have for you in words. You are the very reason why I was able to make something of myself.

To everyone that I’ve had the honor of sharing the ice with, I salute you. Thank you for creating some of the greatest memories I will ever have. Also to the Inline speed skating world, my roots and what raised me.

To all that came before me, who I looked to for inspiration. Your work ethic and passion drove me and many more to accomplish what we set out to do. That’s a beautiful thing.

To the future generation of speed skaters. I look forward to watching you reach new heights, break boundaries and set new records. The advancement of the sport is in your hands, and I know it’s going to be great. Keep it fun and light, work harder than you thought you could, and learn how to sharpen your own damn blades.

0 commentaires:

Publier un commentaire