Jaelin Kauf’s big season just got a lot bigger.
Kauf placed second Wednesday night at the moguls world cup at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah – and also clinched her spot on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.
Perrine Laffont of France won the event with a score of 81.88, while Kauf was second with 79.57 and U.S. teammate Morgan Schild’s 78.93 was close behind for third. Keaton McCargo also made the super final, finishing fourth with a 77.09.
Kauf will make her Olympic debut next month in PyeongChang. Schild will look to join her with another podium finish in the next two world cup events.
The 21-year-old Kauf entered the event in second on the world cup rankings list with 240 points. She’d already met the selection criteria for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 with a pair of top-three finishes in selection events, but only three athletes can qualify that way so she had to wait for the results at the Visa Freestyle International.
A Vail, Colorado, native known for her incredible speed, Kauf opened the season with a fifth-place finish in Ruka, Finland, then scored her career-first moguls world cup win in Thaiwoo, China, and finished second the following day at the same location.
Four days before her second-place finish at Deer Valley, Kauf was 16th in Calgary, Alberta.
The first three moguls world cup podiums of her career have come in the season’s first five world cup events.
The rising star was rookie of the year in 2015-16, and last season finished seventh overall in the rankings.
She has three world cup podium finishes in dual moguls (a non-Olympic event) earned in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, but had not finished top-three in moguls until this season. Kauf also won bronze at the 2017 world championships in dual moguls.
Kauf has spent her entire life around moguls skiing. Both of her parents, Scott and Patty, were skiers on the Pro Moguls Tour and multiple-time champions. Her mother also medaled at the X Games in skicross.