U.S. Olympic short track team roster finalized on last day of trials

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Returning Olympian Maame Biney and five more short track speed skaters qualified for the U.S. team for Beijing on the last day of the Olympic trials on Sunday.

Corinne Stoddard, Julie Letai, Eunice Lee, Ryan Pivirotto and Andrew Heo also qualified based on results over three days of racing at the Utah Olympic Oval outside Salt Lake City.

They join Kristen Santos, the lone American man or woman ranked in the top 10 in the world in any event, who grabbed the first spot on the team on Saturday.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for 2022 Olympics

Santos and Biney combined to win the six races at trials — two each at 500m, 1000m and 1500m. Santos won four; Biney took two.

Santos, ranked second in the world in the 1000m and fourth in the 1500m, is the hope to win the U.S.’ first Olympic women’s short track medal since 2010.

Biney, born in Ghana and raised in Virginia, was the lone skater at trials who has competed at the Olympics before. She was 14th and 31st in two events in 2018 at age 18.

“It’s been a rough couple of years,” Biney, who considered quitting the sport while struggling emotionally and with injury during this Olympic cycle, said through sobs. “I’ve been through so much mentally, and also my dad isn’t here [in attendance].”

Stoddard and Letai joined Santos and Biney on the World Cup team this fall.

Lee, a 17-year-old who has never been on the national team, is in line to be the youngest U.S. short track skater to compete at the Olympics since 1998, according to Olympedia.org, should she be chosen to compete in the relay.

Lee, a former figure skater and competitive gymnast who was born in South Korea, did not make the team in any individual events.

On the men’s side, Pivirotto eyes his Olympic competition debut after making the team in 2018 for the relay pool but not being selected to race in PyeongChang.

“It’s going to be different [than in 2018],” he said, “and I cannot wait.”

Heo beat out Brandon Kim, the highest-ranked American man at No. 29 in the world, for the second spot. Heo skated with a nearly three-inch-long scar on his left forearm from a summer 2019 training crash that required 24 stitches.

The U.S. won at least one men’s short track medal at the last five Olympics, but this year failed to qualify a relay team for the first time since 1992.

Therefore, the U.S. has two total U.S. men going to the Olympics, its smallest contingent since 1992, when the sport made its medal-event debut.

ON HER TURF: Meet the U.S. Olympic women’s short track team

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