After three days of racing, five women were named to the U.S. short track speed skating team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics:
- Kristen Santos (Fairfield, Conn.)
- Maame Biney (Reston, Va.)
- Corinne Stoddard (Tacoma, Wash.)
- Julie Letai (Medford, Mass.)
- Eunice Lee (Bellevue, Wash.)
Kristen Santos, 27, confirmed her spot on the U.S. Olympic team on Saturday after winning back-to-back 1500m races in Salt Lake City, Utah. (At U.S. Olympic Short Track Trials, all three Olympic distances – 500m, 1000m, 1500m – were contested twice, with combined results determining the makeup of the U.S. roster for Beijing.)
It marks a remarkable comeback for Santos, who just missed out on qualifying for her first Olympic team four years ago, but will enter the 2022 Winter Olympics as the U.S. team’s best hope for a women’s short track medal since 2010.
“I’m just going to continue to focus on myself and hopefully I can pull something out at the Games,” Santos said.
Maame Biney, the only returning Olympian of the group, was next to book a ticket to Beijing, which she did by winning the second 500m race of the weekend. (A video highlight of Biney’s 500m win is embedded above.)
Born in Ghana, Biney moved to the United States at age five and grew up in Reston, Virginia, with her dad, Kweku.
The 21-year-old has had a tough four years since PyeongChang, where she became the first Black woman to compete for a U.S. short track speed skating team, and even contemplated quitting the sport in the lead-up to the Beijing Games.
In addition to coaching challenges, Biney has also been vocal about racial injustice and police brutality.
“I had to find my voice even though I was super scared and very anxious about it,” she told On Her Turf in February 2021.
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Corinne (Corie) Stoddard and Julie Letai, both members of the 2021 U.S. World Cup team along with Santos and Biney, will make their Olympic debuts in Beijing.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will mark the first time since 2010 that the U.S. will field a women’s relay team. That relay spot was earned by Santos, Biney, Stoddard, and Letai – so it wasn’t surprising that that foursome separated themselves from the rest of the field during Olympic Trials.
“I think this is the most meaningful day of my life,” Letai told NBC Olympics reporter Andrea Joyce. “The four of us have been working together so hard.”
The fifth spot on the U.S. women’s short track speed skating team – which remained up for grabs heading into the sixth and final race of the weekend – was nabbed by Eunice Lee, a 17-year-old who was an unknown heading into the weekend.
“This is my first team ever,” Lee said in her post-Trials interview, a revelation that was met with cheers from her four new Olympic teammates. “I’ve never really skated with the national team… I’m glad I’m going to get to do that more.”
The U.S. men will be represented by Ryan Pivirotto and Andrew Heo.
READ MORE VIA OLYMPICTALK: U.S. Olympic short track team roster finalized on last day of trials
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