Santos-Griswold Opens World Cup Season With Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals
by Paul D. Bowker
Kristen Santos-Griswold extended her impressive World Cup medals streak over the weekend when she earned a Gold, Silver and Bronze at the 2023-24 season opener in Montreal, Canada, while Corinne Stoddard added an individual Bronze and both helped the Women’s 3000m Relay team earn a Silver medal.
Things got off to a wild start for Santos-Griswold when all four skaters behind her collided and crashed into the wall in the first Women’s 1000m final.
“My strategy was to stay in control, stay calm, be confident and know that with a few laps to go, I could just send it and that would be the end of it,” Santos-Griswold said.
That proved to be a winning approach. After the other skaters got back up and finished the race, Santos-Griswold lapped two of them as she cruised toward the finish line to win with a time of 1 minute, 31.288 seconds. Poland’s Kamila Stormowska was penalized.
As Santos-Griswold took a victory lap, the public-address announcer at Maurice Richard Arena said, “That was a weird one.”
“It feels really good,” Santos-Griswold said. “Obviously that wasn’t the most conventional race, but I’m feeling really strong and felt like I was in control of it. I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
The second 1000m Final was less dramatic, as Santos-Griswold finished third with a time of 1:31.168 behind South Korea’s Kim Gilli (1:30.998) and Belgium’s Hanne Desmet (1:31.036).
Santos-Griswold, a 2022 Olympian, was the only skater to medal in both 1000m finals and emerged from the weekend with a No. 1 World Cup ranking in the 1000m and No. 3 ranking overall. She has now medaled at every World Cup stop the last two seasons and has won 11 individual and relay medals in her last seven World Cup appearances.
Stoddard also reached the podium individually, finishing third in the Women’s 1500m behind Desmet and Kim. Stoddard had a time of 2:28.104. She led during the early laps of the race, then stayed within the top three in the battle for the finish.
“My strategy was to stay in the top three the whole race, just stay out of trouble and not be behind people that I didn’t want to be behind,” Stoddard said.
The third-place finish marked her first World Cup medal at the 1500m distance and her second individual World Cup medal of her career. Stoddard won a Bronze medal in the 1000m last year in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
“In training, I really tried to push myself and not stop skating when I’m tired and just keep going as long as I could,” said Stoddard, who made her Olympic debut in 2022. “I think I got stronger from pushing through the pain.”
The second-place finish by Lee, Letai, Santos-Griswold and Stoddard in the 3000m Relay was the first podium finish in that race for a U.S. Women’s World Cup Team in four seasons. They finished with a time of 4:07.948, trailing Canada by just 0.013 seconds.
Clayton DeClemente posted the best finish among the U.S. men, making the B Final in the 1500m. He placed fourth in the race with a time of 2:24.224. to finish 11th overall. DeClemente was one of eight quarterfinal winners.
The World Cup remains in Montreal for the second competition Oct. 27-29.
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.