Olympic Memory, Kristi Richards
Steve Russell/Staff Photographer
Every Olympics we are usually asked to write about our favourite Olympic memory.
There are so many that it is hard to isolate just one, but if I had to, I would have to say it was Kristi Richards' second run in the Ladies' Moguls.
If you recall Kristi did not medal, she fell.
Why is that my favourite moment of the games?
Because of what she did after she fell.
I'll tell you what I saw in training, because this is what makes the moment special to me.
Moguls training is a pretty cool thing to watch, the skiers defy gravity and fly through a tough mogul section with their legs absorbing them while their upper bodies seem to float down the hill.
The course is laid out with a jump on the top, a long section of moguls and a jump near the bottom. During training the skiers rarely do the whole run in one go.
They tend to go over the first jump and then pause somewhere in-between the jumps to talk to a coach or set themselves to run the bottom jump.
Some might actually take off their skis and walk up the side of the course back to the top. Rather than go all the way down and take the lift back up.
As I watched Kristi train I noticed that she tended to do that. The whole time I was out there is would take the jump, take off her skis and walk up to her coach, talk and try again. Sure she would mix a full run in once in a while.
As time passed and there were fewer skiers on the hill and fewer photographers on the bottom of the hill she turned her attention to the bottom jump, a back full, a back flip with a full twist.
Same routine, make the jump, stop, climb up to coach, talk, climb a little further up, repeat.
I was the last photographer, she the last skier, I left, packed my gear and began the walk to the bus. While waiting for the bus I could see the mogul course through the trees and Kristi Richards on it, make the lower jump, stop, climb up to coach, talk, climb a little further up, repeat.
She was still at it as the bus pulled away.
The on the day of competition she qualified fourth for the final, there was a chance that we might have two Canadians on the podium.
Her first jump was awesome, a Back Puck/Pike with position was flawless, Kristi scored higher on the first jump than any of the other competitors, including the medalists.
She was roaring down the hill when she couldn't stay on her skis. She fell in the middle of the course. Just like that her medal hope was gone.
Richards picked up her ski, moved to the side of the course, put her ski back on and slowly moved to the centre of the course again to line up with her ramp.
She paused, and began her run down the course her last jump, the back full.
It was wicked! She nailed it!
She finished 20th of 20 but she won a lot of respect from the people on the hill!
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