When the 25-year-old who grew up in a ski family on Vancouver Island came to talk to reporters after her message-sending Monday performance in the ski halfpipe qualifiers, she was briefly taken aback by the number of people waiting to speak to her. "To have an Olympic medal is par for the course for us here".
The gold medal went to Canadian Cassie Sharpe and the silver to France's Marie Martinod. That second run earned her a 95.80, which was over three full points more than anyone else scored during the event.
The demands of back-to-back race days meant Shiffrin opted out of Wednesday's downhill to focus on combined, which includes a run of slalom, her specialist discipline. For context, the winning score in Sochi was 89.00. Brita Sigourney led the USA trio of finalists with her bronze medal.
Which, it turns out, she did.
Fourth in the standings after the first two runs, Annalisa Drew, 24, of Andover, Massachusetts, briefly jumped into third place following her final run score of 90.80, but was knocked back into fourth after Sigourney locked up bronze with her final run. She hugged her coach, Trennon Paynter, at the top of the pipe, and the two argued about who would make the other cry on global television.
Martinod, at 33 the oldest skier in the field, threw down a pair of stylish runs to put pressure on Sharpe.
Bowman was visibly and understandably upset following her final run, but she'll have a chance to use this as motivation to return to the podium four years from now in Beijing. Her runs, tricks and height all looked good until the end. Sharpe's final run was a triumphant victory lap.
"I've been working hard and I could do it at the right times", said Martinod.
"I had a moment when I fell and I was just sliding back, looking back up the pipe and thinking, "you have done it". Part would go to all the women who have pushed her sport so far. She died in 2012 following complications from a training fall in Park City, Utah.
As her parents Julie and Thad Sigourney, watched from the bottom of the PyeongChang halfpipe - both clad in commemorative polka-dot Korean parkas - they knew that their daughter had come a long way since she first began competing in freestyle skiing at age 8 with the Alpine Meadows team, then chose to focus full-time on freeskiing while a freshman at the University of California-Davis, where she played club water polo until it became a winter season sport. The subject of whether unworthy Olympians had polluted the competition remained a hot topic on Tuesday as the finals unfolded, though the skiers themselves would largely not be baited into the controversy.
"Then Thorsten was giving me a hug and he said... it was a tie, and I thought, 'Oh, it was a tie'". I'm just so proud to he a part of the three girls on the podium - and Anna's run in fourth place was just unbelievable!. "I love them so much".
In the three-run final in the Phoenix Snow Park halfpipe, Sigourney scored 91.60 on her third run.
When Sharpe faced an global mix of journalists after her qualifying runs she handled that with the same ease as skiing the pipe.
- Cassie Sharpe won the gold medal.
Sigourney said the tricks on display only showed how the sport has advanced in just its second turn through the Olympic calendar. "She's worked so hard for this and has wanted it so bad. I know she's passionate about that". "It's a pretty insane feeling, and I gotta go hug my family and go really experience the love and be a part of that".
"She's got the interest of the women's side of sport at heart, too".