The U.S. Olympic short track speed skating trials will produce seven Olympians, live on NBC Sports, NBCOlympics.com and Peacock this weekend at the Utah Olympic Oval outside Salt Lake City.
The U.S. qualified spots for five women and two men at the Beijing Winter Games.
Women and men will each contest all three individual Olympic distances (500m, 1000m, 1500m) twice from Friday through Sunday. Combined results will determine the Olympic team.
The top-ranked woman in each distance is guaranteed a spot, barring a successful injury petition. After that, it’s based on results and rankings for individual events and combined distances.
The American women outperformed the men in the recent World Cup season, qualifying a relay team for the Olympics for the first time since 2010 (the last time the U.S. earned a women’s short track medal in any event).
Kristen Santos was the standout, making three podiums, including the first individual win for a U.S. woman since 2012. The 27-year-old is ranked second in the world in the 1000m and fourth in the 1500m.
Santos was fourth overall at the 2018 Olympic Trials, where three women made the team. A month before those trials, she needed surgery after another skater’s blade sliced her hand and wrist at a World Cup.
Maame Biney is the lone woman in the trials field with Olympic experience. Born in Ghana, Biney moved to the U.S. at age 5 and was raised in Reston, Va., by a single father, Kweku. In 2018, she made the Olympic team at age 17, becoming the first Black woman to compete for the U.S. in Olympic short track.
Biney is favored to make the team again after qualifying for the national team for World Cups this past fall. She’s ranked 21st in the world in her best event, the 500m.
The U.S. will have its smallest contingent of male Olympic short track skaters since the sport’s medal-event debut in 1992. It failed to qualify a relay team for the Olympics for the first time since 1992.
No man in the trials field has competed at an Olympics. Past medalists J.R. Celski retired in 2018 and John-Henry Krueger switched to Hungary.
Enter Ryan Pivirotto. He made the 2018 Olympic team in the fifth and final spot, strictly in the relay pool. But since the relay is four men, there was always going to be a chance that he wasn’t selected to compete at the Olympics. That ended up being the case as the U.S. went with its top four in both the preliminary heats and consolation final in South Korea.
Pivirotto, 26, is the second-ranked U.S. man behind Brandon Kim. Kim, a 20-year-old who was accepted to Stanford, ranks 29th overall in the world.
U.S. Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Trials Broadcast Schedule
|Friday||8:30 p.m.||1500m, 500m||NBCSN | Peacock | STREAM LINK|
|Saturday||5:30 p.m.||1000m, 1500m||NBCSN | Peacock | STREAM LINK|
|Sunday||4:30 p.m.||500m, 1000m||NBC | Peacock | STREAM LINK|
All coverage also streams on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk