VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Japanese medal hopeful Aiko Uemura narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium with a fourth-place finish in the women’s freestyle moguls at the Vancouver Olympics on Saturday.
American Hannah Kearney won the gold medal with 26.63 points, followed by Turin Olympic champion Jennifer Heil (25.69) of Canada with the silver. Shannon Bahrke of the U.S. took the bronze, 0.75 ahead of world champion Uemura.
Uemura negotiated the course with solid turns and got the second highest mark for her aerial maneuvers for a score of 24.68, but it was not good enough to stave off the stiff competition at Cypress Mountain.
“I don’t know why I keep going up just one rank each time,” said Uemura, who had finished seventh, sixth and fifth in her previous three Olympic appearances. “There are too many little things to hark on about my performance. I am disappointed but satisfied that I could ski well.”
Uemura made a somewhat skittish landing on her second aerial, leaving her in second place behind Bahrke at that point in the standings.
“I was hoping to move into first after my run but Shannon was really good.”
Arisa Murata (23.22) and Miki Ito (21.63) were eighth and 12th, respectively, for Japan.
Japan’s Tae Satoya, the gold medalist at the Nagano Olympics, finished in a disappointing 19th after she took a spill onto her back on her second air maneuver when she lost her balance on the ramp.