Maggie Voisin falls just short in women's slopestyle

Maggie Voisin, of the United States, jumps during the women’s slopestyle finals at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. (AP)

BOKWANG, South Korea — Maggie Voisin’s Sochi Olympics ended before they even started. And for most of Saturday morning, it looked like her PyeongChang Olympics wouldn’t get out of first gear, either.

She recovered, though, and was in position to take the bronze … until it was snatched away.

Voisin began qualification for the ski slopestyle event by posting a 72.80, good enough for seventh place after one round. The top 12 skiers from a pool of 23 advance to the finals, so she was in reasonably good, if not completely safe, position. But she only marginally improved her score in the second round, notching a 73.00. And behind her, skier after skier bested her score, pushing her down onto the bubble at the 12th position.

Only one skier remained who could bump Voisin: South Korea’s Meehyun Lee, who executed a solid, if not spectacular, wreck- and drama-free run. But despite the vocal pleas of the hometown audience, the judges gave Lee a 72.80 – just two-tenths of a point outside the top 12.

Voisin advanced, and her first round appeared headed for brilliance until a crash on the final slope left her with an opening score of 26.40. With two more runs remaining and only the best of three scores counted for a final victory, she had more opportunities. Another fall on the final jump of Run 2 meant it was all or nothing

She was in position for the bronze until Isabel Atkin bested her in one of the final runs of the day, pushing Voisin just off the podium.

Switzerland’s Sarah Hoefflin took the gold.

Voisin, 19, made her bones on the X Games’ ski slopestyle circuit, but until now, Olympic success had eluded her. Selected to the Sochi squad, the youngest athlete for Team USA since 1972, Voisin suffered a fractured fibula just days before she was supposed to compete. She marched in the Opening Ceremony anyway, but always had an eye on returning to the Olympics. Now, she’s had her chance.

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