Santos-Griswold Captures A Silver And Two Bronze Medals At Montreal World Cup II
by Paul D. Bowker
Kristen Santos-Griswold won another three medals, including a Bronze with the U.S. Women’s 3000m Relay, as the short track World Cup season continued this past weekend in Montreal, Canada.
In Montreal for the second weekend in a row, Santos-Griswold won Silver and Bronze medals in a pair of 1500m finals, increasing her individual medal count for the 2023-24 season to four. She also teamed up with Eunice Lee, Julie Letai and Corinne Stoddard for a Bronze medal in the crash-dominated relay.
Santos-Griswold, a 2022 Olympian, has medaled at every World Cup stop the last two seasons and has won 14 total medals in her last eight World Cup appearances. She is second in the World Cup overall rankings.
Santos-Griswold came within one lap of winning Sunday’s 1500m final, but Belgium’s Hanne Desmet squeezed through for the win while Santos-Griswold, leading for several laps, battled South Korea’s Kim Gilli on the final lap. Santos-Griswold finished third with a time of 2 minutes, 24.851 seconds, just .081 seconds behind Gilli.
“I felt really strong with the 1500,” Santos-Griswold said. “I felt really good going into the final lap. Ultimately, obviously, I was hoping for Gold and that didn’t happen but I felt really strong and did everything I could throughout the race.”
In the first 1500m final, held Saturday, Santos-Griswold took a different strategy and rallied from behind in an attempt for the win, but she finished behind Kim and Desmet. Santos-Griswold won the Silver medal in a time of 2:34.829 when penalties knocked Desmet off the podium.
“I’m focusing on some different types of race strategies throughout the race and being in different placements and seeing how those play out,” Santos-Griswold said.
In the first 1500m final, Stoddard led for several laps but then crashed into the boards and out of the race after being bumped by Desmet. Stoddard, who was seeking her second individual medal of the season, finished sixth.
The dramatics of the 1500m final were overshadowed by the 3000m Relay. All four teams experienced crashes, including one that sent Santos-Griswold into the wall. The U.S. still rallied for a third-place finish with a time of 4:21.594 behind South Korea and the Netherlands as penalties sent Canada off the podium.
“When Kristen fell, I tried to get to her as soon as I could so that I could get the tag,” Stoddard said. “And then Julie came out, and I was just thinking about making sure that we did an exchange at two (laps) to go because you have to do that … otherwise somebody’s going to be out there for way too long.”
The third-place finish earned a U.S. medal for the second straight week after not winning one since 2020.
“I think there’s a lot of trust within the team, which is really great especially when unpredictable things happen in a race,” Letai said. “We all know what our individual jobs are during the relay, and we’ve all been really consistent in getting them done. That’s just proven to be very effective in getting us through the rounds and getting us medals.”
For Lee, the relay races have delivered the first World Cup medals of her career.
“I like that it’s a team event so I can be out there with the rest of the team,” Lee said. “I think it’s challenging because there’s a lot of people on the ice at once, and they’re all involved in making changes and going really fast. The race can change really quickly.”
Brandon Kim had the best finish among the U.S. men, making the B Final in the 1500m. He finished fourth with a time of 2:21.924 for an overall 11th-place finish.
Next up is the ISU Four Continents Short Track Speed Skating Championships, Nov. 3-5, in Laval, Canada, which is a Montreal suburb.
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.