Olympic short track speedskater JR Celski was on NBC’s The Biggest Loser as one of several Olympians who made special guest appearances to encourage the contestants in their efforts to exercise and lose weight. JR was able to not only show them how to use a specific piece of exercise equipment but also to inspire them by telling his own remarkable story.
It was in season 9, episode 6, of the hit show, when the cast went to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. There they met several athletes, like JR Celski, who helped to push them to do the best they could in succeeding on the show.
At the start JR Celski’s's segment, the contestants were taken into a gymnasium where a set of slide boards were arrayed. There the host Alison Sweeney told them the aphorism of the day to get them ready for the day’s pop challenge. She said, “Becoming an Olympic champion boils down to one thing: on the big day you have to push harder than everyone else.” The key word, as it would be learned, was “push”.
Alison introduced JR, and asked him to tell his story. He told about starting inline skating at age 3 and then getting into short track speedskating. He then related the tale of how he had injured himself severely a few months before, on the last day of the Olympic Trials. Having cut his leg to the bone, he ended up in a hospital, unable to move his leg. He showed the 6″ scar as the proof of the incident. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, but I bounced back. I guess it’s just proven to me, that no matter what situation you’re in, you’ve got to get back up. And that’s all you guys have to do, is to be dedicated to what you do and then really, really go for it.”
The pop challenge would be using the slide board, and so JR Celski explained how to use one. He stepped on one and appeared to slide right off of it, but said he was just kidding. However, he did warn that it was as slippery as ice. One of the hefties said JR made it look so simple, as it should be for an Olympic athlete.
As the contest began, JR took in a deep breath and grasped his hands nervously. He was not used to this kind of workout group, as he saw many of them fall over. He gently gave them some general support: “Come on, push through the pain guys.” JR clapped politely as some were able to move back and forth and not topple to the ground. Eventually a gold, silver, and bronze winner were declared and the challenge was complete. Throughout, JR Celski was his usual sweetness.
Bob and Jillian encouraged the viewing audience to contribute to the United States Olympic Committee and most importantly, watch the Olympics on NBC.