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Uemura reflects on Olympic career

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Freestyle skier Aiko Uemura, who advanced through the qualifying round in moguls on Thursday to make Saturday’s finals, is cherishing what will likely be her final shot at Olympic glory.

The 34-year-old Uemura, who is competing in her fifth consecutive Olympics, finished seventh in the qualifying round where teammate Miki Ito was injured.

The Hyogo native has progressively improved by one position since her seventh-place finish at the 1998 Nagano Games at each successive Olympics. She will be hoping to better her fourth-place finish in Vancouver here and make the podium for the first time.

“My mood is great,” said Uemura. “It really helps me that there are a lot of Japanese supporters here. The weather for the event was fantastic, the best of all the Olympics I have participated in.”

Reflecting on her fifth trip to the Winter Games, Uemura noted that she has treasured every one.

“I don’t think the Olympic experience ever gets old, it is hard to judge as I am still very young.”

Uemura, the world champion in both moguls and dual moguls in 2009, intends to change her strategy from the qualifying round with the medals on the line on Saturday.

“My race plan for the final will be much different.”