Hannah Kearney earns second Deer Valley win
Ryan Summerlin January 15, 2014
Hannah Kearney is the number one female moguls skier in the world for a reason she’s really good.
She’s always a pretty safe bet to win, no matter the location, but at Deer Valley? Forget about it it’s just about a foregone conclusion.
After winning a gold medal in Thursday’s World Cup competition at the Park City ski resort, Kearney was back at it again Saturday night, claiming her second gold medal of the weekend.
Kearney not only won the competitions, she also finished first in the qualifying rounds and semifinals, ensuring she’d get to go last in each of the finals.
So, does she ever get tired of those long waits in the starting gates at the top of the course?
"Nope," she answered with a laugh. "I haven’t seen many women ski this competition, because if you’re the last one down, you don’t get to see many women. That’s fine by me."
Though she won both events, Kearney was happier with her performance on Saturday night.
"That felt really good," she said. "That felt like a prettier run than my one two nights ago. I tried to find the balance of speed, but also control. That felt much cleaner."
And, she added, now that she’s back to her winning ways, she doesn’t want to take a break.
"That gives me momentum and I want to go compete again right now," she said.
With all the support from the home crowd, Kearney probably wouldn’t mind adding a third World Cup event to the Deer Valley schedule.
"You can see, feel and hear the crowd," she said amid the roar of the nearly 8,500 fans packed around the base of the moguls course. "I used it as practice. There’s a chance this is a bigger crowd than we’ll have at the Olympics. And there were certainly more people cheering for me than there will be at the Olympics. I tried to put on a show."
But, while she’s thrilled with the way she skied at Deer Valley, she’s not going to stop trying to improve her run.
"You analyze the video, figure out what you’re going to work on and then do that," she said. "There’s absolutely always something to be fixed or improved upon. That’s how I’ll move forward."
In fact, Kearney saw something she wanted to work on even before she was handed her gold medal on Saturday night.
"Standing in the finish area, they show a replay of your jumps," she said. "I saw something on my bottom jump I want to fix. I want to be able to get that grab sooner so I can hang onto it for longer. There’s always something."
Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan won a silver medal on Saturday night, with Maxime Dufour-Lapointe of Canada claiming her first-ever podium finish by taking home the bronze medal.
Canadian Alex Bilodeau outgunned teammate, and current No. 1 mogulist, Mikael Kingsbury on the men’s side Saturday night, claiming his first gold medal of the season. After winning Thursday’s competition, Kingsbury had to settle for a silver medal on Saturday. Russian Alexandr Smyshlyaev finished in third place.
American Patrick Deneen finished just off the podium in fourth place. His teammate, Sho Kishima, crashed in the superfinal round, causing him to finish in sixth.
"Hopefully I can bust out some tougher jumps next week and the week after that," Kishima said. "This course being so challenging, I kind of struggled off the bottom jump all week, so I held back a little bit."