Jaelin Kauf reacts after winning the silver medal during the women's freestyle skiing moguls final at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 6, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.
ZHANGJIAKOU, China – Another medal performance is in the bag for Team USA as Jaelin Kauf clinched silver in the moguls finals Sunday at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
Kauf, 25, cruised through her final run, earning an 80.28 in 26.49 alongside a backflip mute grab on the top aerial and a backflip iron cross on the bottom. She was leading until Australia’s Jakara Anthony closed out the super finals to take gold with 83.09.
“Like [my super-finals run] wasn’t a flawless run, and I just didn’t know what the judges were going to do with that,” the two-time Olympian said. “When it popped up with my score, I realized that I was getting an Olympic medal.”
Kauf’s silver medal followed U.S. snowboarder Julia Marino’s silver in the women’s snowboard slopestyle finals earlier on Sunday to take Team USA’s medal count to two.
The Alta, Wyoming, native admitted that her final run was arguably the worse out of all three, claiming that she was skiing too fast into the middle section of moguls.
“I definitely felt pretty in control for all my runs,” Kauf said. “Probably the least I controlled was the last one. I missed the first turn coming out of the top air, so I was skiing pretty fast out of there. For every run, I was just fighting every turn to just give it everything that I had.”
Freaky fast. ⚡️— Team USA (@TeamUSA) February 6, 2022
Two-time Olympian @JaeBird96 secures silver at the #WinterOlympics. pic.twitter.com/LD5iF7FnkZ
Kauf is the lone veteran on the U.S. women’s moguls team, having competed at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. There, she finished seventh in her Olympic debut.
While the 25-year-old struggled in 2018, she attributed her success at the 2022 Games to two things: She’s not being drawn to so much of the pressure that she dealt with going in as the world’s No. 1 ranked moguls skier in 2018, and she trusts her parents’ advice.
“And the biggest thing that I learned from my parents, and the biggest thing that I took into this Olympics, was just having fun – just doing my thing,” said the two-time Olympian. “That’s the thing they always really tried to instill in me is just do it for the love of it with passion.”
This time, Kauf started strong during her qualifying run and ignored all the distractions. It ended up paying off as she became the first U.S. medalist since three-time Olympian Hannah Kearny (2006, 2010, 2014), who last won bronze at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Olympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit TeamUSA.org/Beijing-2022-Olympic-Games to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.