American flags and Team USA flags were waiving in Higganum as Fairfield's Kristen Santos competed in the 2022 Winter Olympics 1000 meter speed skating competition Friday morning.
William Soukup, Kristen’s stepdad, cheered alongside his neighbors who are nuns from the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Higganum.
“There's not too many things we get up early for. One is prayer. The other is the Olympics,” Sister Doretta D’Albero said.
Sister D’Albero has been watching the Olympics for years and enjoys any sport that moves fast. Kristen’s races certainly did.
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The cheering crowd went wild when Kristen placed first in both in her quarterfinal and semifinal races.
“She's just focused on what she wants to do. And the last four years have been amazing. Every practice she gives 100%,” Soukup said. “You know, she lives and breathes speed skating with her fiancé and it's been her life. But she also got a degree in the last four years too. So, she's just an awesome kid.”
And the sisters admittedly prayed for Kristen’s success.
“You know, it's funny because I said that you don't pray for sports or weather or lottery. But now, when the race starts, I pray for sports,” D’Albero said.
Unfortunately, in that final round when Kristen and Italy’s speed skater slid out of medal contention, her stepdad and the sisters were crushed.
But they’re still so proud and looking forward to her other races coming up, like the 1500 meter on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 7 a.m.
“Thank you for letting us have such a good time watching you. And you're an artist. It's, I'm fascinated every time you race because you just seem to know just what you want to do. And you're able to do it because of all those years of hard work,” D’Albero said.
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