Winter Olympics 2018: Speed skater John-Henry Krueger gives Team USA ninth medal
Krueger broke Team USA's speed-skating drought with his second-place finish in a crazy, crash-killed final
Team USA short-track speed skater John-Henry Krueger won a silver in the men's 1000-meter final, snapping an eight-year medal drought in individual speed skating for the United States. A wild crash left only two skaters remaining: Krueger and gold medalist Samuel Girard of Canada. The medal comes as a bit of a shock, as Krueger was an interference call away from being eliminated in the quarterfinal round. It was only when Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt was penalized for impeding Krueger that he was able to advance. But none of that matters now.
Krueger surviving the war of attrition gave the Americans their first win in individual men's speed skating since 2010 in Vancouver.
"The most important part of short track is keeping your composure and calmness," Krueger said to the media, per NBC Sports. "The quarterfinal definitely wasn't my best race but after the quarterfinal I decided, with my coach, that I needed to skate up front and be confident in what I had been training for."
It's only fitting that Krueger's medal would come in such an ugly race. His entire career has had challenge after challenge presented to him, from a sickness at the 2009 Olympic trials to even more struggles in recent years that have kept him off the podium entirely. In spite of those struggles, Krueger can now say that he's a medalist in speed skating, something that few people would have predicted.
At just 22 years old, Krueger has more than earned his keep.
"It's the ultimate redemption. I'm finally able to put away the story about how I was a young kid who had swine flu and ended up missing the Olympics," Krueger said, via NBC Sports. "Now I'm the young kid from Pittsburgh who came back from an adversity and who ended up being the top in the world."
Krueger brings Team USA its ninth medal from an unexpected source. And those ones tend to be the sweetest.
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