Corinne Stoddard celebrates qualifying for the Olympics at the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Short Track Speedskating on Dec. 19, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
SALT LAKE CITY – Excitement and tears filled the Utah Olympic Oval on Sunday as the final six short track speedskaters qualified for the Olympic team at the 2022 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Short Track Speedskating.
Heading into Sunday, four women’s and two men’s Olympic roster spots were up for grabs as skaters took the ice in the 500- and 1,000-meter finals.
The women’s team added three additional qualifiers after the 500-meter final: Corinne Stoddard, Julie Letai and Maame Biney. Eunice Lee then rounded out the women’s team after her skate in the 1,000-meter finals. They joined U.S. teammate Kristen Stoddard, who punched her ticket to the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 in Saturday’s 1,500-meter final, on the women’s short track Olympic team.
While the women could celebrate after the first finals of the day, the men’s field came down to the wire. The ‘anything can happen’ nature of short track speedskating was on full display throughout the qualifying rounds of the men’s 1,000 meters with Ryan Pivirotto and Andrew Heo ultimately taking the two Beijing 2022 roster spots.
Going into Sunday’s finals, three men – Pivirotto, Heo and Brandon Kim – were in the mix for the two spots. Kim fell in the finals of the 1,000, costing him a spot on the Olympic roster.
“I’m feeling a lot of bittersweetness actually because we were in a tight spot with only two spots and three eligible people,” Pivirotto said. “I hugged Brandon as soon as he came off the 1000 because it's a terrible position to go in, but I’m super happy for Andrew who made it and myself obviously so trying to control my emotions right now.”
Because there were only two spots on the men’s roster, the athletes with the two highest cumulative point totals across the Trials competition qualified for the 2022 Games.
Pivirotto, the veteran of men’s short track, will be returning to the Olympic stage after representing Team USA as an alternate at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
“I’m going and I’m skating,” Pivirotto said of qualifying for his second trip to an Olympic Games.
Heo, 20, joined the national team training program in 2018 and has been representing Team USA internationally on the world cup circuit ever since. He started skating in 2008 and shares a love of the sport with his brother Andrew, who competed for Team USA at the Youth Olympic Winter Games Lillehammer 2016.