Sochi, Russia In mid-January, Eliza Outtrim had resigned herself to not making the Olympic team.
On Saturday at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park moguls course, Outtrim was one of the final six girls battling for a medal.
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The Steamboat Springs skier and 2003 Lowell Whiteman School graduate slipped in a brutal middle section, costing her a chance for a medal, eventually finishing sixth.
Canadian Justine Dufour-LaPointe won gold, while sister Chloe took silver. Favorite and defending Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney was third.
For Outtrim, it’s been an emotional three weeks.
After the final World Cup of the season, she figured she was out of contention for an Olympic spot.
But she miscalculated the rules, and a day later, she found out she’d be in Russia.
She made the most of the opportunity, skiing tremendously all week. She loved the steep course and deep moguls that favored technically sound skiers.
In qualifications Thursday, she was second behind Kearney.
After Saturday’s first run, which cut the field to 12, she again was second. She qualified fifth for the superfinals before the middle moguls threw her out of her line.
“I’m (definitely) disappointed because I wasn’t doing that all week,” she said. “When it came down to it, I was proud because I fought through that run. I mean my tips were crossed in some of those moguls. I fought as hard as I could.”
The course was brutal to many skiers Saturday. The section after the first jump proved especially tough.
It cost Kearney her chance to repeat as gold medalist.
Outtrim, who walked in Friday’s opening ceremony, said Saturday was about as normal a day as she could imagine.
She slept in until 10:30 a.m. before getting a workout in with Kearney and teammate Heather McPhie.
She had lunch and did some physical therapy before hopping on the stationary bike about 3:30 p.m.
She then went to training an hour later.
“That went terribly,” she said.
The course then hardened up, and she skied well until her final run.
“I got a little off on the top section, and it was downhill from there,” she said.
Outtrim will spend the next couple of weeks in Russia having fun and attending events. She plans to ski the rest of the World Cup season and said she may ski again on the circuit next year.
There won’t, however, be another Olympic run.
“It was incredible,” she said “It was everything I hoped for. I wish I was walking away with a medal, but Russia has been so accommodating.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham