FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2012 file photo, JR Celski competes during the 500-meters final at the U.S. Short Track Speed Skating Championships, in Kearns, Utah. After all the lawsuits and scandals and infighting, the American speedskating program is finally on the same page. And, just in time for the Sochi Games.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
A 23-year-old Bay Area native is America's best hope of medaling in the short track speed skating competition at the Winter Olympic games in Sochi.
J.R. Celski was born in Monterey, Calif. but raised mostly in Washington State, which he now calls home.
Celski was accepted to the University of California, Berkeley, but postponed his college career to focus on speed skating.
He said it feels amazing to represent the United States at Sochi and will give it his best.
Celski also is being called the next Apolo Ohno.
"It's an honor that they feel that you're the best," he said of the comparison. "I'm going to really capture the moment and make some history out there."
The athlete won a pair of bronze medals at the last Olympics. He said this year is more focused, both on and off the ice.
Celski is expected to draw a huge crowd when speed skating competitions begining next week.
Click here to see a video about Celski's rain-soaked roots.