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NEXT: The countdown continues

Meet athletes No. 15-11 in the Mag's quest to find the future of sports

Updated: November 5, 2009, 2:31 PM ET
By Morty Ain | ESPN The Magazine
Getty ImagesThis guy, if he enters the 2010 NFL Draft, could go top-five.

The deal: ESPN The Magazine's NEXT athlete for 2010 will be revealed in the December 14, 2009 issue. In mid-October, we revealed athletes No. 20-16 Here now, from the November 16 issue: athletes 15-11.

No. 15: J.R. Celski

It sounds too good to be true. He strapped on a pair of plastic skates at age 3, and by 9 he was carving laps on a short track, mimicking his local Seattle hero, Apolo Ohno. Now, the 19-year-old Celski is the one getting accolades. "J.R. is built for short track," Ohno says of the 138-pound speedster. "He's so light, so technically sound. He's already among the top guys in the world." Start your clocks now. Celski hauled in four medals -- two of them gold -- at the 2009 World Championships. And he secured a spot in Vancouver at September's Olympic trials. One scary setback: During the trials, Celski endured a bloody on-ice crash, slicing open his left thigh. But while he's still on the mend from surgery, he should be good to go for the Games. Says Ohno, "He'll be a force for years to come." Believe it.