By John Boyle Herald Writer
WEST VANCOUVER, B.C. — Patrick Deneen wasn’t just happy to be here.
Yes it was the first Olympics in the career of the 22-year-old mogul skier from Cle Elum, and sure he was excited to experience his Olympic debut in front of so many friends and family members, but it was hard for him to appreciate any of that Sunday after his night ended with a crash.
“I’m happy I was able to get here, but I didn’t come here to fall; I came here to win,” he said. “It happens every once in a while, and yeah, I’m a little bit bummed right now.”
Despite winning a surprise world championship last year, Deneen wasn’t considered the favorite in here at Cypress Mountain, but he certainly expected to perform well. After a solid first run Deneen was ranked 10th out of 30 skiers. His second run — the one for a medal — showed why Deneen earned the nickname “The Rocket” form former gold medalist Jean Luc Brassard.
Deneen was tearing down the course, and it looked like a run that would perhaps be medal worthy as he approached the second of two jumps on the course, but in an instant he was sliding towards the finish face first, and his medal hopes were gone.
On his second jump, Deneen attempted a D-Spin, which is an off-axis flip with a 360-degree rotation. Deneen drifted left in the air and landed on the backs of his skis, causing a crash that put him on the bottom of the result sheet.
Despite the result, Deneen doesn’t regret gambling a bit on with a jump that he admittedly struggled with in training last week.
“I had to give it everything I’ve got,” he said. “I was going for the win and I got a little bit off on that bottom air, which put me in a really bad place to land, and as soon as I was there my run was over. As soon as I hit the ground I knew I was in a really bad spot and I wasn’t going to ski out of that one.”
And if he had stuck the final jump, Deneen thinks his day might have ended much differently.
“I think it would have been on the podium,” he said of the run.
Instead, a disappointed Deneen will have to hope to find that spot on a podium somewhere down the road. Then, and only then will Deneen be happy to be there.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Olympics coverage, go to heraldnet.com/olympics