Santos-Griswold Finishes Off Fall World Cup With Two More Individual Silver Medals
by Paul D. Bowker
Kristen Santos-Griswold cranked out another two individual medals, and U.S. skaters totaled four medals, as the short track speed skating fall World Cup season finished up this weekend in Seoul, South Korea.
Santos-Griswold, whose spectacular season has carried her to second place in the World Cup women’s overall rankings, captured Silver medals in the Women’s 1000m and 1500m. She has now won eight individual medals and three relay medals in four World Cup stops this season.
Corinne Stoddard, a 2022 Olympic teammate of Santos-Griswold, reached the podium for the second straight week when she finished second in the 1500m.
Santos-Griswold, who is ranked number one in the Women’s 1000m, reached the podium at that distance for the fourth time this season.
Saturday’s final in the 1000m was a showdown among Santos-Griswold, and Olympic medalists Hanne Desmet of Belgium and Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands. Desmet held off a hard-charging Santos-Griswold by just 0.112 seconds to win in 1:29.303.
In the 1500m the next day, Desmet blazed off the starting line and fired up a lead of a quarter lap, creating a desperate chase led by Santos-Griswold.
“I was definitely surprised, and it was unfortunate I had to be the one to chase and close it back, but someone had to do it,” Santos-Griswold said. “When it’s someone so strong, you can’t let them go.”
With three laps to go, Santos-Griswold and Stoddard had passed Desmet and charged into the one-two positions. But on the final lap, winner Kim Gilli of South Korea pulled into the lead in front of a noisy home crowd as Santos-Griswold fell to second place with a time of 2:23.968 and Stoddard was fourth at 2:24.441. The victory put Gilli, a five-time junior world champion, 60 points ahead of Santos-Griswold in the race for the Women’s World Cup overall championship.
“She’s an amazing skater,” Santos-Griswold said. “While I am disappointed with second, I am honored to be disappointed with second. I will go home and train and hope to get her the next time.”
Stoddard won a Silver medal in the first 1500m race held Saturday, finishing runner-up to Gilli with a time of 2:35.865. It was the second individual World Cup Silver medal for Stoddard, who won her first Silver last week and shared the podium with teammate Santos-Griswold.
“I am very happy with my progress, and I am feeling really strong,” said Stoddard. “It’s just the start for me.”
Santos-Griswold, Stoddard, Heo and Kim finished second in the Mixed Relay, but shared the Bronze medal with South Korea after both the U.S. and South Korea were penalized while Italy moved up to second place behind the Netherlands. The medal was the first of the season for Kim.
Kim also reached the A final in the Men’s 1500m. He finished fifth with a time of 2:16.849, almost reaching his first World Cup individual medal by less than .3 seconds.
The World Cup circuit is off until February, when it resumes Feb. 9-11 in Dresden, Germany.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic and Paralympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to USSpeedskating.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.