The inaugural ISU Four Continents Championships wrapped in Montreal, Canada on Sunday, with three bronze medals for team USA.
Maame Biney used her sprinting prowess to earn bronze in the first medal race of the championships in the 1500m. Thomas Hong would answer her performance a short time later with his own bronze in the men’s 1500m. He returned with the men’s 5000m relay on Sunday, alongside teammates Aaron Tran, Andrew Heo, and Ryan Pivirotto, earning another bronze medal for Team USA.
The women’s 3000m relay team – Biney, Julie Letai, Kristen Santos, and Corrine Stoddard – finished fourth behind the winning team from Korea.
The event gathered the top racers from the Americas and Asia to battle for the first titles, returning to the Maurice Richard Arena for the second time this season. Notably absent was Canadian star Kim Boutin, who has six individual gold medals so far this season, but was forced to miss competition on home turf due to a knee injury.
Ryan Pivirotto continues to gain strength and confidence in competition. After missing the A final in the 1500m, he came in first in the B final, making his move with four laps to go, passing on the inside in the last lap to hold off Wenlong Li of China for the win.
In the 1000m, Thomas Hong reached the B finals after a strong showing in the qualifying heats. He made his move with two laps to go, to slide in behind Dagyeorn Kim of Korea for second place.
Andrew Heo raced the qualifying heats, finishing third behind Hong in their heat. Kristen Santos raced the 1000m B final for the women, finishing third behind the Chinese duo of Aili Xu in first and Jinyu Li in second. Biney reached the semis, and Corrine Stoddard finished third in her qualifying heat.
Hong would also be the team’s top finisher in the men’s 500m, reaching the A final to finish just off the podium in fourth. Pivirotto and Heo raced the qualifying heats, but missed the chance to advance. Biney also made the A final, and finished fourth followed by Kristen Santos finishing third in the B final.
The championship had an overall individual classification earning points from top finishes in each category. Korea dominated both the men and women’s overall, winning by a large margin in both. Hong was fifth as the top finisher for the USA, followed by Pivirotto in 13th and Heo in 15th. Biney earned sixth overall for the women, with Santos in ninth and Stoddard 15th.
Short Track World Cup competition returns February 7 in Dresden, Germany.
“It was really good to see more skaters in the team getting on the podium and making A finals. This weekend Maame and Thomas skated very strong. A few mistakes and Thomas being a bit sick, kept them off the overall podium but they made huge progress since the first part of the season. This was a great competition in preparation of the rest of the season,” said National Head Coach Wilma Boomstra
"The team went into the race confident and we kept pushing hard 'til the end of the race even though we dropped off the front group. Team China made a mistake mid-race that allowed our team to get third place." -- Ryan Pivirotto
“The past few weeks I’ve been super relaxed and just letting everything happen because being patient is such a hard thing to do in short track. Even though it’s going so fast, so many things happen in just a lap. I feel like I did it really well this weekend, especially in the 1500, but I also didn’t do it very well in the 500 and 1000. I think it’s because I’ve always felt like I’m better in the shorter distances so I have a little bit more pressure on myself to do better in [those races],” – Maame Biney
“Leading up to the next few competitions, I’m just going to stay nice and relaxed throughout all the distances,” – Maame Biney