Two events notched two medals in the Sochi snow for Team USA on Saturday, February 8.
While one athlete, Sage Kotsenburg locked up his first gold medal on his first run in men's slope style snowboarding with a sick "Back 16 Japan Air," compatriot Hannah Kearney saw her chance of winning back-to-back gold medals slip away in women's moguls.
Kearney's qualifying run put her in prime position to win going into Saturday's final at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. And she was the odds-on favorite to repeat her performance from 2010 in Vancouver -- despite having Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe DuFour-LaPointe breathing down her neck all season.
Kearney won the World Championship in 2013, fending off the DuFour-LaPointe sisters with aggressive skiing, and her qualifying run of 21.97 in Sochi seemed to put her on the right track to reclaiming another huge victory -- and the second American gold in the first day at these Olympics.
But, mistakes in the early portions of her first and second runs of the final cost her the gold. She finished her final run with 21.49 points, fewer than Justine and Chloe -- who took gold and silver, respectively with 21.70 and 21.64.
"I wanted that gold medal. And I skied great. But I made a few mistakes," said Kearney at a post-race press conference. "And you don't win the Olympics when you make mistakes. I'm proud to contribute to the medals count for Team USA at the Olympics. But right now I'm very disappointed."
On what was likely her final Olympics in women's moguls, Kearney hesitated in her press conference to say her Olympic career was all but over after three games (2006, 2010 and 2014).
"I knew if I didn't win a gold I would be very disappointed. It meant I did something incorrectly," she said. "I worked really hard the last four years. Probably even tomorrow morning I'll feel a lot better."