2010 Olympics Watch: Bahrke secures berth in Vancouver Games | SierraSun.com

2010 Olympics Watch: Bahrke secures berth in Vancouver Games

John Kekis
AP Sports Writer

WILMINGTON, N.Y. and#8212; It was a performance worth losing sleep over.

Hannah Kearney led an American sweep of the top four places in a World Cup moguls event at Whiteface Mountain on Thursday, while Shannon Bahrke of Tahoe City finished runner-up Heather McPhie was third and Michelle Roark fourth.

and#8220;I couldn’t sleep last night, I was so nervous. I had a steak for dinner and it just sat there all night,and#8221; said Kearney, who won the U.S. Olympic trials in December to earn her second trip to the Winter Games. and#8220;It was really hard, for sure.and#8221;

Kearney made it look easy.

Skiing last, she landed a splendid 360 helicopter in winning the one-run event, where scoring is based on speed, style while skiing the course and through two airborne turns, and time. Kearney finished with a score of 25.13, Bahrke had 24.96, McPhie 24.08, and Roark 24.05.

Kearney moved to third in World Cup points behind McPhie and overall leader and reigning Olympic champion Jennifer Heil of Canada, who did not compete at Whiteface.

Though the U.S. team won’t be officially selected until Tuesday in Park City, Utah, Bahrke and Roark likely have earned the final two slots after besting Tahoe City’s Laurel Shanley and Reno’s Shelly Robertson and#8212; both products of the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team and#8212; at Whiteface.

and#8220;Gravy, but crucial gravy. My confidence was a bit shaken the last couple of weeks,and#8221; said Bahrke, who’s now fourth in the World Cup standings. and#8220;I’ve had some ups and downs. My head hasn’t been in the right place. I haven’t felt nerves. Today, I felt those nerves and that adrenaline, and it felt good. I used it to my advantage. It was important to lift my spirits going into the Games.and#8221;

Shanley and Robertson finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

and#8220;It was really close,and#8221; Bahrke said. and#8220;The people that are going are the people that would have gone regardless of this competition. There were no upsets, but you can empathize with your teammates. Their dreams are crushed. It’s what you work for and today is the day to decide their fate. It’s really hard to watch.and#8221;

In the men’s competition, Michael Morse left the mountain feeling good after placing fifth behind winner Guilbaut Colas of France. Colas finished with a score of 26.51, followed by World Cup leader Dale Begg-Smith of Australia (25.95), Jesper Bjoernlund of Sweden (25.44) and Alexandre Bilodeau of Canada (24.90).

The finish for Morse, who missed fourth by .01, was his best of the season, moved him to sixth in World Cup points, and pretty much locked up the 29-year-old’s first Olympic berth.