SALT LAKE CITY – Talk about home-ice advantage. American short track speed skater Kristen Santos-Griswold capped off the second World Cup of the season Sunday with her third bronze medal of the weekend, finishing third in the 1000m final despite crashing out on the final turn.
“It was a bit crazy,” she said Sunday after her final race at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, which Santos-Griswold calls home. “I went down in the last corner and managed to get up and still cross third, so that’s good.”
Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting (1:28:24) won gold in the 1000m, while Canada’s Courtney Sarault (1:28:29) took silver.
“Overall, I felt really good — just at the end, I felt like I had nowhere to go,” added Santos-Griswold, who finished at 1:32:96. “The two skaters in front of me are really strong and fast and know how to throw amazing tracks. So, I think for next time it’s about positioning myself better earlier, because it was just more about having the right spot at the right time.”
The bronze-medal trifecta was also a personal accomplishment for Santos-Griswold, who finished third in the 500m on Saturday and was also part of the bronze-medal winning U.S. mixed relay team. Despite capturing a bronze medal in the 1500m last week at the World Cup opener in Montreal, she skipped the event this week as a personal challenge of sorts.
“I tend to like the longer distances, but I’m trying to get a little bit out of my comfort zone and really force myself to skate everything,” explained Santos-Griswold, who competed in her first Olympics in February in Beijing and finished just off the podium – fourth – in the Olympic 1000m final.
“The more I can skate and the more I can do better at different distances, there’s more opportunity for me. … I love the 500. I love the idea of like the fact that you just skate and go. You don’t have to think about anything. You know everyone’s gonna go fast off the guns. But it just hasn’t been my strong suit necessarily. I’ve been working on my start a lot, so hopefully one day it will be.”
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Fellow American Corinne Stoddard made the 1000m B final on Sunday and finished fourth (1:31.61). The 21-year-old, who also competed in the Beijing Olympics, also earned her the second World Cup medal of her career in Salt Lake City on Saturday as part of the U.S. mixed relay team.
“My top speed is definitely there,” said Stoddard, who also competed the 3000m relay, but the U.S. team failed to advance out of the quarterfinals. “But my endurance on the last couple rounds of the distances could improve because I’m pretty fast in the first couple rounds, but then as we keep having to go over and over and over again, it’s a little more tiring for me.”
Next up for the U.S. short track athletes is a third straight week of competition — at the ISU Four Continents Short Track Championships, Nov. 11-13, also in Salt Lake City. As for her goals for the coming week, the answer was easy for Santos-Griswold.
“I am ready to change from bronze medals into something else,” she said. “I feel like right now I know I have the speed and strength. It’s really about dialing in the racing and best strategy and attacking early. But also not too early — because I’ve done that too, and it doesn’t work out either. So just finding that happy, middle ground. Skating for first a little bit more and being the one to take advantage of the opportunities and take initiative in a race a bit more.”