Produced on February 26, 1986, in Hanover, New Hampshire, Hannah Kearney started skiing competitively at age 9. Kearney recuperated from an ACL injury to win gold in the moguls in the 2010 Winter Games, and claimed her second World Tournaments moguls title in 2013. In 2014, she took home the bronze medal in women’ moguls in the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
She learned to ski as a 2-year old, and at age 9 joined the freestyle plan at Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire that was run by Nick Preston, her future private trainer. Kearney attended Hanover High School, where she competed on the football and track teams while honing her world class skills on the slopes.
After facing down her anxieties of performing midair flips in contests, she won her first two events on the World Cup circuit through the 2003-04 season. Known for her hallmark pigtails, she punctuated a fast rise to the very top of her field having a gold medal in the moguls in the 2005 World Championships.
Still shy of her 20th birthday, the moguls phenom was considered a favorite to get a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Nevertheless, she stumbled during her qualifying run and failed to improve, finishing 22nd overall. Devastated by her performance, Kearney suffered another setback when she tore an ACL a year after.
Driven to take a rest from competition, Kearny took advantage of the downtime to rekindle the fire for skiing that had dissipated in the aftermath of her unsatisfactory Olympic showing. Returning to the World Cup circuit full time in 2008, she went to win the moguls title after that season.
Despite becoming the very first skier to clinch a place on the Olympic moguls team along with her triumph in the U.S. trials in December 2009, Kearny discovered herself fighting the memory of her previous failure on the cusp of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. The monkey off her back, Kearney claimed her first freestyle complete title in 2011 and compiled a record 16 straight successes from 201112.
After coming in first position for the qualification round of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Kearney competed in the freestyle skiing women’ moguls. Although she expected to make 2014 a record breaking year in Sochi by developing two successive gold medals, she fell short of her larger than life goal by putting third. When asked about her run on the Olympic course, Kearney said, “I believe I actually gave it away is what it felt like. It was mine to ski for. I did try my best. The sole positive I can see I think is that I did not lose because I was old-fashioned, or being complacent.”