Blake Skjellerup on track at the speed skating World Cup

Blake Skjellerup is in Shanghai at the first leg of the ISU World Cup

The openly gay speed skater from New Zealand is taking the first of four concrete steps toward Olympic qualification

Openly gay Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup completed his first day of competition at the first leg of the ISU World Cup in Shanghai today. The race was the first concrete step toward qualification for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next February.

Skjellerup finished third in his 1500m heat, good enough to advance to the quarterfinal round. He posted the seventh best time overall, but that's not a good indicator as the skaters in the heats are jockeying for position, not time. He'll have the fourth position in the sixth heat in the quarterfinals; the top three skaters will advance to the semis.

Skjellerup did not qualify to compete in the prelims in the 500m, finishing fourth in his heat and missing by the narrowest of margins.

You can follow all of the results from Shanghai this weekend at the short track results site.

Skjellerup is trying to become the first male Winter Olympian to compete while being openly gay. You can help him get the resources he needs to compete at his highest level possible by contributing here.

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