WATCH: U.S. Speed Skater Austin Kleba Tumbles After Crossing Olympic Finish Line

The 22-year-old slipped and crashed into the wall after his Olympic debut

Celebrating on ice can be a slippery slope.

U.S. speed skater Austin Kleba learned that the hard way in his Olympic debut Saturday, taking a tumble after crossing the finish line.

The 22-year-old from Illinois kicked off the event in the opening pair with Canada's Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu. Kleba jumped out to a fast start off the line and finished with a time of 35.40 to edge Gelinas-Beaulieu (35.84) and take a very early lead atop the leaderboard. While raising his arm in celebration, Kleba slipped backwards, fell to the ice and crashed into the wall.

"I wanted it a little bit too hard at the end of that finish and I went a little back and fell at the line," Kleba said with a laugh. "But best place to fall I would say in the race. It didn't hit in my time at all, so that was good."

Kleba finished 27th in the 30-man field, with China's Tingyu Gao winning gold after clocking in at 34.32 seconds to break the Olympic record.

It wasn't the finish, or celebration, Kleba hoped for, but his first Olympic experience was still a valuable one.

"Amazing," he said. "It's a surreal experience to be out here and be able to compete with the best in the world."

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