ROSA KHUTOR, Russia — Olympic champion Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., won under the lights in Rosa Khutor to lead a dominant day for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Friday at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics moguls venue.
Eliza Outtrim of Camden, Conn., was second with Heather McPhie of Bozeman fourth — missing the podium on a tiebreaker. Patrick Deneen of Cle Elum, Wash., was second in the men’s to Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury. It was a strong day for the USA with six women making the round of 16 semifinals and four moving on into the six personal finals. The win boosted Kearney into the World Cup moguls lead for the first time this season.
Butte’s Brad Wilson, 20, finished in 31st place in the men’s competition. His run Friday morning coincided with the streaking of a large meteor through the Russian sky.
Wilson tweeted good-humoredly that the occurrence “was distracting.”
He and others joked that it was an excuse he probably wouldn’t be able to lose very often.
On a serious note, the impact of the meteor caused severe damage and injured hundreds.
Wilson’s older brother, Bryon, 24, the 2010 Bronze Medalist in the event, did not finish his run. Details had not yet been given.
Kearney established herself as the favorite winning on a soft moguls course at Rosa Khutor near Sochi. The win moved her into the World Cup lead for the first time this season.McPhie is third with Outtrim now fourth.
The warm, soft conditions were a challenge for athletes in maintaining consistent speed and landing jumps. But athletes were impressed with the overall venue construction which has all events sharing a common finish area.
“Today really tested my skiing and to be able to pull off a win in all the different conditions we experienced makes me confident in my training and my ability,” Kearney said. “This venue and course is something really special. So many people are a part of making this a success and I’m extremely excited that the Olympics are here in less than a year.”
Joe Discoe of Telluride, Colo., were the only U.S. men to qualify for semifinals.