SOCHI, RUSSIA – Freestyle skier Aiko Uemura suffered more heartbreak on Saturday as she finished fourth for the second Olympics in a row in the women’s moguls at the Sochi Games.
The 34-year-old, who finished fourth in Vancouver four years ago after placing seventh, sixth and fifth in her previous Olympic appearances, was third with only defending champion Hannah Kearney of the United States left to ski in the six-woman final.
But Kearney denied Uemura a medal when she took third to finish behind Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, who won the gold and silver, respectively.
“I thought I had gotten a medal and finished third, but points are points and I just felt like ‘oh I am fourth again’ and haven’t got a medal,” said Uemura.
Justine scored 22.44 points, Chloe had 21.66 and Kearney, who looked shaky on her last run, scored 21.49. Uemura had 20.66.
Uemura, who has a pair of world championship golds from 2009, said earlier this week that she would be able to “die happy” if she could win an Olympic medal.
It was not to be, but Uemura refused to let the disappointment of coming so close to a medal dampen her spirits in what is likely her final Olympic appearance.
“When I thought about aiming for Sochi after Vancouver, I was not confident that I would be back again and in a position of just being on or off the podium,” she said.
“But it makes me really happy to have been in a position of going for a medal here and thinking that I could get one if I ski well.
“I am so happy that I have been able to ski on the Olympic stage so many times and I am thinking this will be the last one for me. For me, I think I can finish with great memories of the Olympics. I didn’t get any medals and I can only say sorry for that but I am glad I tried.”
Arisa Murata qualified for the three-stage final but pulled out just before the start after suffering an injury in a practice run.