Kearney qualifies 1st in women’s moguls at Olympics |

Kearney qualifies 1st in women’s moguls at Olympics

American women to compete for medals when event continues this evening

Luke Graham

— The weather held, and all of the world’s top moguls skiers made it through the first run of Olympic mogul skiing today at Cypress Mountain in British Columbia.

Judging from the first run, it will be a battle between host nation Canada and four American skiers for the three spots on the podium.

Vermont's Hannah Kearney led the qualification, scoring 25.96 on her first run. Canada's Jennifer Heil, the defending Olympic gold medalist, was second with a score of 25.50.

The United States' Heather McPhie was third, and Canada's Kristi Richards was fourth.

"It's faster than it has been in training," Kearney said after her run. "The moisture is packing down a little, so it was fast."

Kearney had the fastest first run, clocking down the course in 27.97 seconds.

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The United States' Shannon Bahrke qualified sixth, and American Michelle Roark qualified seventh. New Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member Ellie Koyander, of the British team, finished 24th and wasn't among the 20 women to qualify for the finals.

"Absolutely amazing," Koyander said about her experience. "I'm having such a great time. I worked hard to be here. I'm just happy I made it to the bottom. … I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life."

After much worry about the course and snow, things went off without a hitch during today's qualification run.

Rain gave way to a light snow early on. The wind was whipping through the arena, but conditions were as good as they have been all week. As expected, the Canadians had a big contingent, but the United States was also represented in a standing-room-only crowd.

"I'm psyched to get into the finals," said McPhie, who came in ranked second in the world. "I struggled with some stuff with my top air in training. But I'm really happy with the way I hit it."

The finals continue at 8:30 p.m. Steamboat time.

Qualification round scores

  1. Hannah Kearney 25.96

  2. Jennifer Heil 25.50

  3. Heather McPhie 25.03

  4. Kristi Richards 24.63

  5. Aiko Uemura 24.43

  6. Shannon Bahrke 24.27

  7. Michelle Roark 23.98

  8. Margarita Marbler 23.77

  9. Chloe Lapointe-Dufour 23.74

  10. Ekaterina Stolyarova 23.01

  11. Arisa Murata 22.99

  12. Nikola Sudova 22.40

  13. Tae Satoya 22.15

  14. Deborah Scanzio 21.84

  15. Miki Ito 21.81

  16. Yulia Galysheva 21.51

  17. Darya Rybalova 21.31

  18. Daria Serova 21.08

  19. Regina Rakhimova 21.01

  20. Marina Cherkasova 20.92