Americans sweep moguls podium
When Hannah Kearney crossed the finish line at the FIS Freestyle World Cup event at Deer Valley on Thursday night, she knew she and her teammates had accomplished something special.
With a huge smile on her face, she skied over for a joyous embrace with Heather McPhie and Eliza Outtrim, knowing that the three Americans had just swept the podium of the moguls event.
After reviewing her style, speed and jumps, judges awarded Kearney a score of 25.54, more than enough to give her a gold medal. McPhie, who resides in Park City, earned silver by posting a score of 23.85, while Outtrim (23.47) took bronze.
"It was really, really cool," Kearney said of the all-American podium. "I haven’t been that excited crossing the finish line in multiple seasons."
"It’s amazing," McPhie added. "We’ve never been on the podium together. We really push each other, so I couldn’t be happier about this. These are two of my favorite people, so to be on the podium with them is amazing."
Kearney said spending so much time with McPhie and Outtrim on the road made sharing the spotlight with them even sweeter.
"We do everything together train together, sleep in hotel rooms together but at the end of the day it’s an individual sport," she said. "However, in moments like this it feels more like a team sport and that’s a very unique sensation."
But, McPhie added, Kearney knows that she and Outtrim would love to replace her at the top of the podium.
"Of course I want first place," she said. "I think that’s healthy. I think we all know that we each want to win. I can’t wait to beat her."
It wasn’t the first time McPhie and Kearney had been a part of a U.S. podium sweep. In 2010, Kearney took first place and McPhie took third at an event in Lake Placid, N.Y. Shannon Bahrke won the silver medal in that event.
On the men’s side, the Americans earned another podium finish, with Patrick Deneen taking home bronze. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury and Alex Bilodeau won first and second places, respectively.
For McPhie, skiing in front of her home fans made the event even better, especially after not making the finals in her last couple events.
"I had a rough last two weeks," she said. "So to come back home and have such a great crowd was really, really nice and it was so much fun."
On Saturday she’ll have another chance to ski on the mountain she knows well. The dual mogul event begins at 2 p.m. with ladies’ qualifications. Men’s qualifications begin at 3:50 p.m. and the finals start at 6:30.
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When it comes to the U.S. census, let’s just say Park City has… room for improvement.