Short track speedskater Kristen Santos is having herself quite a month.
First she set a U.S. record in the 1,000-meter at the world cup opener at the Utah Olympic Oval at the beginning of November, and on Saturday she won her first individual world cup medal ever when she earned bronze in the same distance in Nagoya, Japan.
Santos finished second in her semifinal to reach the final, where her competition included Dutch speedskater Suzanne Schulting, who won the gold medal in the event at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. On Saturday, it was South Korea’s Noh Ah-Rum who came away with the win, stopping the clock at 1 minute, 32.168 seconds, with Schulting right behind her with a time of 1:32.442. Santos crossed the line with a third-place time of 1:32.535, holding off South Korea’s Noh Do-Hee, a two-time overall world junior champion, and Canada’s Alyson Charles to reach the podium.
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Santos skated to a new American record in Utah, breaking Olympic medalist Katherine Reutter’s track record for a mark of 1:28.485. Although that wasn’t enough to get her past the semifinals, she placed third in the “B” final for eighth overall. She earned a bronze in the mixed relay at the 2018-19 short track world cup stop in Torino, Italy, in February for her first world cup medal. Santos has been racing at the world cup level since the 2014-15 season.
The 25-year-old from Fairfield, Connecticut, was 12th at the 2019 world championships in the 1,000-meter and also compete in the 500- and 1,500-meter distances. She became interested in speedskating after seeing a commercial on Disney Channel.
Also in Nagoya, Santos, Corinne Stoddard, Julie Letai and Maame Biney qualified for Sunday’s 3,000-meter relay final with a second-place finish in their semifinal.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.