SOCHI, Russia – The storyline was so familiar from four years ago.
Hannah Kearney vs. Canada. In 2010, the gripping finale had come down to Kearney vs. Jenn Heil, the home-country favorite. The American freestyler upset Heil in the moguls event to win gold in Vancouver.
Saturday, it was Kearney against Canada -- again. Only this time it was Kearney vs. two Canadian sisters, Justine Dufour-Lapointe and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe in the medal round.
The youngest sister, 19-year-old Justine, prevailed with a stirring final run and won gold for Canada and she shared the podium with her older sister, 22-year-old Chloe, who took the silver. Justine’s score was 22.44 to 21.66 for Chloe.
Kearney, who never looked quite comfortable on the final night, won bronze with a score of 21.49, and the other American skier in the six-woman Super Final field, Eliza Outtrim, placed sixth.
Kearney struggled to contain her emotions in the interview room, and lost that battle with her tears.
"I feel like I let myself down," she said. "I wanted that gold medal and I skied for it. But I made a huge mistake and you don't win the Olympics when you have a huge mistake in your run."
Outtrim said she skied a little loose and that's all it took on a tough course.
"That last run I had, I hadn’t skied like that all week," Outtrim said. "I think it was a little bit of bad luck. I haven’t been that sloppy all week, but again, the course is very unforgiving. If you’re on, it’s good. If you’re a little bit off, it’s hard to get back."
For Canada, it was the first gold medal of these Olympics. The United States won two medals on Saturday –- snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg’s gold in slopestyle and Kearney’s bronze.
There was a third Dufour-Lapointe sister in the field, Maxime, who was eliminated in the second run on Saturday night.
Heather McPhie, another Olympic veteran, was the third American competing and she did not make it out of the final 16.
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