The most decorated freestyle skier of all time stumbled her way to a bronze medal in the moguls competition in Sochi.
Hannah Kearney said her bronze medal in women’s moguls “represents a battle, more than an accomplishment” and that it felt like she gave away gold, according to The Boston Globe.
The Hanover, N.H.-born skiier took home the gold medal four years ago in Vancouver, and was looking to make history as the first Olympic freeskier to win consecutive gold medals. But a score of 21.49 put Kearney just behind Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe in the final standings.
Kearney was shaky on her first run, but rebounded in her second. With the gold medal in her sights as she started on her third and final run, Kearney watched it slip from her hands as she stumbled after the first jump and her ski shot out to the side. Kearney was emotional after the run, and reflected on her more than decade-long career.
“It’s very difficult coming off of a gold because from there, and I’ve said it myself, from the top there’s nowhere to go but stay there or fall,” said Kearney. “And I fell today. Only two places, but enough that it really feels like a disappointment to me.
“I know it’s up to me to see the positive. I did win a medal for the US. That will help our medal count. But as you can hear in my voice, it’s really hard. No one in life wants the best part of their career to be behind them. Unfortunately, that’s what it feels like right now, that I was at my best in the past.”
Kearney, who resides in Norwich, Vt., said she won’t compete in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongyang, South Korea, but will continue to compete in World Cup events. The 27-year-old has been the most dominant freeskier for most of her career, making 59 podiums (39 wins) in 103 World Cup events.
Photo via Twitter/@cedarposts