Maame Biney and Kristen Santos lead the 10-member U.S. team that was named for the 2021-22 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup season.
They also represent the U.S.’ best hopes at earning its first Olympic women’s short track medal in 12 years when the Beijing Winter Games start in some 130-plus days.
US Speedskating named the World Cup team of five men and five women this week. Results at this season’s four World Cup events will help determine how many athletes each country sends to Beijing, which can be up to three per gender if it does not qualify a relay team or five per gender if it does.
The World Cup will start at the Capital Indoor Stadium – the Beijing Olympic venue, Oct. 21-24, followed by stops in Nagoya, Japan (Oct. 28-31), Debrecen, Hungary (Nov. 18-21), and Dordrecht, Netherlands (Nov. 25-28).
The young U.S. women’s team includes Biney (21), Julie Letai (21), Kamryn Lute (17; Beijing and Nagoya only), Santos (26) and Corinne Stoddard (20).
The veteran Santos has been America’s top short track speed skater both of the past two seasons. She won her first individual World Cup medal in November 2019, a bronze in the 1000m, and finished fourth in the 500m at the 2021 World Championships.
Biney made herself known in December 2017 when she became the first Black woman to make a U.S. Olympic speed skating team. She finished no better than 14th in PyeongChang, but has since won the 500m gold medal at the 2019 World Junior Championships and an individual World Cup medal, 500m bronze in February 2019.
The last Olympic medals by U.S. women’s short track speed skaters came in 2010, when Katherine Reutter took silver in the 1000m and the relay team of Allison Baver, Kimberly Derrick, Alyson Dudek, Lana Gehring and Reutter took bronze. That was the last time the U.S. qualified a women’s relay team.
Biney, Letai, Santos and Stoddard won World Cup relay bronze in December 2019, though, for the U.S.’ first World Cup medal in the event in eight years.
The U.S. men for this World Cup season are led by 2018 Olympian Ryan Pivirotto (26). He is joined by Adam Callister (28), Clayton DeClemente (22), Andrew Heo (20) and Brandon Kim (20).
The U.S. has won at least one men’s short track medal at each of the last five Winter Olympics, though none of the current athletes have won a World Cup or world championship medal, save a relay bronze for Pivirotto nearly seven years ago.
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