Park City, Utah Travis Mayer, the 19-year-old Cornell student who lives and trains in Steamboat Springs, continued his meteoric rise in moguls skiing Tuesday, capturing the silver medal.
Mayer, who was on the U.S. Ski Team's developmental squad for freestyle as recently as December, catapulted into the spotlight by winning the Gold Cup Olympic qualifying on the Deer Valley course in December. He then earned a second-place finish at a World Cup event last month in Lake Placid, N.Y.
In qualifying Tuesday, Mayer posted the best score of the day and was thus the final competitor in the final round. On that last run he posted a 27.59 score that was second only to Janne Lahtela of Finland, who recorded a 27.97 to win gold.
''I was just hoping to come out and have a good time,'' Mayer said. ''To make the Olympics was way beyond my expectations this year. I thought if I skied my best for a couple runs, that would be a great day. To end up second behind one of the greatest moguls skiers ever, it's the ultimate Olympic experience, pretty much.''
Mayer's run bumped fellow American Jonny Moseley, the 1998 gold medalist, off the medal stand. Moseley finished fourth with a 26.78 score.
Richard Gay of France, who won the moguls World Cup in Steamboat in December, took the bronze.
American Jeremy Bloom, a wide receiver on the University of Colorado football team who took a year off to concentrate on the Olympics, finished ninth with a score of 26.19.
Mayer's silver medal is the best ever by an Olympian who lived and trained in Steamboat Springs. Other Steamboat medalists include Nelson Carmichael, a bronze medalist in freestyle in 1994, and Shannon Dunn, a bronze medalist in snowboarding halfpipe in 1998.
Billy Kidd, who won the silver in Alpine skiing in 1964, moved to Steamboat Springs after winning his medal.
Freestyle Skiing Men's Moguls
1, Janne Lahtela, Finland, 27.97.
2, Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 27.59.
3, Richard Gay, France, 26.91.
4, Jonny Moseley, Tiburon, Calif., 26.78.
5, Tapio Luusua, Finland, 26.67.
6, Scott Bellavance, Canada, 26.55.
7, Ryan Johnson, Canada, 26.55.
8, Mikko Ronkainen, Finland, 26.49.
9, Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, Colo., 26.19.
10, Sami Mustonen, Finland, 26.08.
11, Cedric Regnier-Lafforgue, France, 25.63.
12, Laurent Niol, France, 25.00.
13, Fredrik Fortkord, Sweden, 24.89.
14, Johann Gregoire, France, 22.77.
15, Stephane Rochon, Canada, 19.80.
16, Yugo Tsukita, Japan, 15.81.