J.R. Celski of the United States and Dequan Chen of China compete in the short-track men’s 1500m semifinal. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

J.R. Celski, the top American hope for Olympic gold in men’s short-track speedskating, advanced to the finals of the 1,500-meter event on Monday, finishing first in his semifinal heat. A second American, Eduardo Alvarez, failed to advance after being “penalized” (essentially disqualified) in his heat for impeding another skater.

Celski, a 23-year-old native of Federal Way, Wash. (the same town that produced short-track legend Apolo Ohno), won two bronze medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games.


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