U.S. short-track speedskating Olympic Trials begin in Utah

Dec 17, 2021, 10:08 PM | Updated: 11:56 pm

KEARNS, Utah — For many fans, it took less than an hour to get to the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns.

For the athletes those fans were watching, it took them four years for this opportunity.

“I think I could’ve done better for sure, and there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I think I did pretty well, considering I hadn’t skated for nearly three months,” speedskater Maame Biney said.

Biney is one of the skaters expected to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

She skated for Team USA during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Friday evening, Boney came in second place in the 500 meter and sixth in the 1500 meter.

Her teammate, Kristen Santos, came in first place in both events.

Santos is looking like a good pick for the U.S. Olympic Team after she just missed making the team four years ago.

“I really wanted to be an Olympian, and after just missing the team, that kind of changed from just being an Olympian to being a medal contender at the Olympics,” Santos said.

In the men’s events, Brandon Kim won the 500 meter and Ryan Pivirotto finished in first place for the 1500 meter.

Pivirotto has been though the U.S. Team Trials before, but says this one is different because of the pressure with only a couple of slots available for the men’s team.

“It’s a lot tighter of a race,” he said.

The number of athlete slots each country gets depends on its World Cup standings and points.

The U.S. women’s short-track team qualified for five slots.

Competition continues Saturday and Sunday.

Even though it was a big day for skaters, it may have been an even bigger one for Utah.

Friday afternoon, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Board signed a resolution showing its support for Salt Lake City to bid for a Winter Olympics.

“We are so energized about this. We’re doing it the right way,” Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City Utah Committed for the Games, said.

Bullock was at Friday night’s speedskating trials, along with members of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

He feels the resolution is a vote of confidence for as early as 2030, even with Los Angeles hosting 2028.

“Los Angeles has a fabulous bid and they’re a great team,” Bullock said. “We want them to be successful, but we think, whoa, if we have a back-to-back game in the U.S., it would be kind of an Olympic-Paralympic celebration for two years in this country. It would be fabulous.”

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U.S. short-track speedskating Olympic Trials begin in Utah