Thoughts of Russia warm one skater's heart
Kendall Coyne isn't the only teen with Olympic dreams who came tantalizingly close to qualifying for Vancouver and instead must wait to see what 2014 might bring.
A race-off that went an older sister's way. An injury that ended an SBX racer's season. A surprising result from two-time national champion pairs figure skaters. There was more than enough heartbreak to go around.
• Emily Sweeney, the last teenager eligible to qualify for the U.S. women's luge team, lost the team's final race-off in Lillehammer, Norway, on Dec. 16 to her older sister Megan. Neither Emily, 16, nor Kate Hansen, 17, who traded places on the World Cup and lower-level Nations Cup team all season, will represent the U.S. at the Olympics.
• Two-time U.S. pairs champion Keauna McLaughlin, 17, and her partner, Rockne Brubaker, finished fifth at the U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash., in mid-January, missing both their third national championship and the cut for Vancouver. They are the U.S. team's second pair of alternates.
• Brooke Shaw, 18, tore the ACL in her left knee training prior to an Olympic qualifying race in Telluride, Colo., in mid-December, eliminating her from contention for a spot on the U.S. Snowboard team. She had surgery in early January and will miss up to one year, but will make a full recovery.
• With women's ski jumping out of the running for Vancouver, top U.S. jumper Sarah Hendrickson, 15, was named to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's World Junior Championship Team which will compete in Hinterzarten, Germany, from Jan. 25-31. Her older brother Nick Hendrickson, 18, also made the team, and will compete in the Nordic Combined event.
For most, the attention turns to 2014 and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
"Our immediate goals [were] to win our third national title and skate two clean performances in Vancouver," McLaughlin said. "Long term, at Sochi in 2014, we want to be the first American pair to win the Olympics."
Sarah Hendrickson might have to wait longer for her Olympic moment, but that wouldn't be the end of the world for the Park City, Utah, resident. Though her longest jump stands at an amazing 143 meters (that's almost 470 feet, more than one and a half football fields), the high school freshman has a back-up plan if women's ski jumping isn't added to the 2014 Games: playing college soccer.
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