Fairfield Native Kristen Santos To Compete In Winter Olympics – Patch.com

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KEARNS, UT —Fairfield native Kristen Santos punched her ticket to the 2022 Winter Olympics at the recent U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Short Track Speed Skating held near Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the event, which took place from Dec. 17-19, the 27-year-old Santos won four of six races, including the 500 meters (0:42.084) —setting a new American record in that event — and the 1500 meters (2:25.452). She was one of five women named to the U.S. Team.

“To come out here and give it everything and finally make my first Olympic team is really important to me,” Santos told NBC Sports at the Trials. “I really just tried to focus on myself in every race. I think in the past, I get really caught up in other people and what they’re doing, so just focusing on myself has made a big difference.”

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Several members of Santos’ family were in the crowd cheering her on at the trials, wearing “Team Santos” shirts and holding cardboard cutouts featuring Santos’ picture.

“I could not have done it without them,” Santos told Team USA.org. “It’s like they qualified with me.”

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According to Team USA.org, Santos ranks in the top 10 in the world in all three individual short track distances, including second in the 1000 and fourth in the 1500, and she will enter the Olympics (Feb. 4-20) as “Team USA’s best medal hope in Beijing.”

Santos missed the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea when she finished fourth in that year’s trials, one spot short of qualifying. At that event, Santos was competing weeks after having surgery after another skater’s blade sliced her hand and wrist.

“I think that honestly just made me more motivated for this Olympic cycle and also kind of made me realize the mindset that I need to be in to perform right,” Santos told OlympicTalk.

Santos actually contemplated not competing in this year’s Olympic Trials because of a “very, very sensitive” lower leg injury, NBC Sports reported. She could have petitioned the Olympic committee for a spot on the team.

However, Santos left nothing to chance.

At the Olympics, Santos will be looking to become the first American woman to win a medal in short track speed skating since the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

The last American woman to win a gold medal in short track was Cathy Turner, who was tops in the 500 at the 1992 and 1994 Winter Games.

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