Utah Short Track Speedskaters Are More Than Just Teammates

Feb 11, 2022, 5:41 PM | Updated: 6:03 pm

US Speedskating...

Kristen Santos of Team United States and Corinne Stoddard of Team United States compete during the Women's 1000m Semifinals on day seven of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 11, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

BEIJING — With US Speedskating based at the Utah Olympic Oval, most of the team lives there as well.

Spending so much time together means close friendships are bound to happen, but not normally as close at the women’s short track team.

KSL’s Alex Cabrero was there overnight as they took the ice in Beijing.

In a sport that is often about individual performance, the women of the US short track speedskating team have each other.

“It honestly means the world to me because I couldn’t have done this without them,” said US Speedskater Kristen Santos. “They’ve supported me so much along the way.”

Santos is one of the best speedskaters in the world; same for Maame Biney, Julie Letai, and Corrine Stoddard.  

All four of them are close friends.  

“We’ve been through so much the past few years, and have worked so hard and supported each other so much that there’s no more ideal experience or way it could have gone than all of us being able to go together and staying together,” said US Speedskater Julie Letai.

They became close while training at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns — some even living with each other.

“The first time I came here, I remember asking Kristen, like, so I can take a shower at her house, just because I didn’t, like, because I was living up in Park City, and like, it was just a long drive and I wasn’t driving,” said US Speedskater Maame Biney.

Even though only five spots were available for the short track women’s Olympic team, they cheered as hard for each other during team trials as they did for themselves.

“I can’t believe it, to be honest, because I didn’t know that I even made it after the race until my teammates told me,” said US Speedskater Corrine Stoddard.

Their bond is even more special since family and friends won’t be allowed in Beijing.  

“Having each other, it’s really important,” Santos said. “And I know, like, we all genuinely want everyone to do so well. So, being able to cheer each other on when family can’t be there is everything.”

And no matter where they finish in Beijing, their friendship will last beyond the Games.  

“They’re in my wedding,” Santos said.

That’s right, Santos is getting married after these Olympics. Her teammates will become her bridesmaids, sharing a personal moment only the closest of friends have.

“It just, like, goes to show that this team will do anything for each other,” Biney said. “And it’s really nice to, like, be a part of it, you know, and I hope it goes on forever and ever. Hahaha.”

The fifth member of the women’s short track team is Eunice Lee. She came from the development team, and made the Olympic team during Trials at the Utah Olympic Oval in December.  

The other four say they’re already accepting her into their special circle of friendship.  

You can watch the women and men’s short-track races coming up Friday on KSL TV at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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Utah Short Track Speedskaters Are More Than Just Teammates