ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Feb. 6) – Women's moguls kicked off Thursday with the first round of Olympic qualifications. Defending Olympic champion Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) took the top spot and Eliza Outtrim (Hamden, CT) finished fourth, automatically advancing them to the semifinal round of 20. Kearney is gunning for her second gold medal and would be the only freestyle skier to ever win back-to-back gold.
The qualification took place on a clear night under the lights while the sunset painted the surrounding peaks a bright shade of orange and pink. "It didn't feel like the Olympics until I was standing at the top watching Eliza at the gate and I took a second and looked at our Olympic bibs. Then it hit me that we're here," said Kearny.
Thursday was the first time the new competition format was used in the Olympics as well as the first time the athletes used it this season. In the new format, all 30 athletes take one run and the top 10 automatically advance to semifinals. The remaining 20 take another run and the top 10 from that round make up the final 20 going into semifinals. The 20 then ski with the top 12 of that round advancing to finals. Then the top six from the final advance to the super final round to compete for the podium.
In the final on Saturday, one kick-out at the top of a rugged moguls course stole gold from Olympic champion Hannah Kearney. The veteran Kearney reigned in a wild run to earn an Olympic bronze medal during a fierce women’s moguls super final at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games Saturday night. While she didn't win a cherished second gold, she joined Shannon Bahrke as the second double medalist in her sport.
Eliza Outtrim also advanced to the final, finishing sixth in her first Olympic appearance.