Shannon Bahrke, Hannah Kearney and Jennifer Heil
show off their moguls medals in Vancouver.
The Vancouver qualifying round brought few surprises. Kearney and
Heil sat 1,2 and all of four of USA’s heavy hitters made the finals. (Though
three-time Olympian Shannon Bahrke was unsatisfied with her run and
skipped a walk through the media corral to meet with her fiancé.)
Seventeen-year-old Czech Republic skier Tereza Vaculikova showed off
her Olympic spirit and earned the appreciation of fans when she lost a
ski in the middle section of the course, hustled to reattach it and finished
her only Olympic run.
Two hours later, the fans were two hours wetter but the slate was wiped
clean for the competitors.
The reverse-order format had Heil and Kearney closing the show, but
first came Bahrke in the 15th starting slot. Her fiancé may have found his
calling as a motivational speaker because sparky Bahrke came out of the
After Canada’s plan B, Kristi Richards, was taken out with a pair of falls,
it was looking like the American women might do a little podium sweeping thanks to emerging talent Heather McPhie. But the Park City native
gave a back flip on the bottom jump too much gusto and crossed the finish line on her back.
After three skiers failed to bump her, Bahrke still held the lead when
Heil appeared at the start and the crowd went crazy. With surgically precise turns and solid airs, Heil took the leader’s over-stuffed plastic chair,
moving Bahrke to second.
Even the Canadian weather appeared to be on Heil’s side as the rain
intensified just before Kearney’s run. She later told reporters she found
the downpour refreshing as she pretended the cheers below were for her