Pin it Hannah Kearney
"I'm trying to use my Olympic experience to be the best athlete I can possibly be."

Career highlights

Title

2010

Subtitle

With a Near-Perfect Run, Kearney Wins Olympic Gold

Title

2011

Subtitle

Hannah Wins Gold at the World Cup

Title

2012

Subtitle

Kearney Named Freestyle Crystal Globe Mogul Champion
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Hannah Kearney

Career highlights

Title

2010

Subtitle

With a Near-Perfect Run, Kearney Wins Olympic Gold
Kearney skis almost perfectly, earning a score of 26.63 points out of 30 and winning the gold medal in mogul skiing. “This was probably the highlight that elicits the most emotion in me when I think back on it,” Kearney says.

Title

2011

Subtitle

Hannah Wins Gold at the World Cup
At the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup in March 2011, Kearney takes gold in mogul skiing with a top score of 35 points.

Title

2012

Subtitle

Kearney Named Freestyle Crystal Globe Mogul Champion
It’s often said that Kearney has won everything that she could win when it comes to mogul skiing, and in 2012, she proved everyone right yet again by becoming the Freestyle Crystal Globe mogul champion (she also won in 2011).

Title

2013

Subtitle

Kearney Comes Back from Injury to Sweep World Cup Opener
Coming back from a training injury in October, Kearney is the only U.S. woman to advance to the finals round at the World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland in December, setting a positive tone for her Olympic season.

When mogul skier Hannah Kearney shot out of the gate at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, spectators had high hopes for her. Unfortunately, and surprisingly, Kearney stumbled after landing her first jump, and her visions of Olympic gold landed there in the snow with her. She placed 22nd and failed to make it to the final round.

Determined to perform better in 2010, Kearney changed the way she thought about the Olympics and decided to embrace them for what they were. “I came in with the attitude in 2006 that I would just block everything else out and treat it like a normal competition,” Kearney told SHAPE. “In theory, that’s how I was going to be able to ski my best. We compete at a level that’s the equivalent of the Olympics all year, so I thought I could just ski well, because I had proven that I could ski well at the World Cup level, but that’s not the right attitude, and it went really poorly for me.”

Her new strategy worked: Kearney, now 27, won gold in mogul skiing in Vancouver, and since then, she’s been on a winning streak. In fact, it’s been said that we’re in the “Hannah Kearney age of mogul skiing.” Not only has Kearney won the last three World Cup mogul championships in a row since 2010, but she just clinched a fourth one in January, winning the women’s mogul event with a score of 24.83 points (out of a possible 30). Not a bad start to 2014!

Kearney will probably go down in history as the best mogul skier in the world, but she didn’t get there by accident. The superstar skier follows a very regimented training routine that includes strength training, mobility training (like many athletes this season, Kearney is getting over a serious injury), trampoline work (wherein she practices her jumps and aerial tricks), the stationary bike, and more. “Plus, I try to fit in a quick cardio session before the gym closes,” Kearney says. “Then I eat dinner and do it all again the next day.” We’re tired just typing that!

Kearney has been skiing since she was 2 years old and has a string of accomplishments to her name: She’s won four U.S. championship titles, won the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in 2005 and 2013, and has more than 50 World Cup podium finishes.

That doesn’t mean it’s always been smooth skiing. In 2012, Hannah crashed during a training run in Switzerland and lacerated her liver, punctured a lung, and broke a couple of ribs, though she recovered quickly and returned to the World Cup circuit in 2013, winning six of the 10 events she competed in, plus winning the mogul event at the World Championships and ending her season ranked 4th overall.

Now, Kearney’s hoping to repeat her 2010 Olympic victory and says she’d like to “soak up” what is likely to be her last Olympic appearance. However, that doesn’t mean she’s planning on hanging up her skis anytime soon.

“The focus right now is of course on the Olympics, but I don’t think I’ll be ready to retire until I feel like I can’t improve anymore,” she says. “I want to prove to myself and the world that I can continue to improve.”

Kearney's also been busy working toward a future off the slopes. She is currently studying at Dartmouth ("I'm a 27-year-old freshman," she recently told Access Hollywood), and she was also just named a spokesperson for Chobani Greek yogurt.  —Alanna Nuñez

Featured video

Hannah Kearney on Prepping for Sochi
Mogul skier Hannah Kearney shares her training plans, favorite healthy snacks, and more details on prepping for the 2014 Winter Olympics

Trivia

Signature look
Two pigtail-style braids, tucked into her helmet for competition. “This is as close as I get to a superstition,” Kearney says.
Food she'll never give up
Anything fried. “I try not to associate the word ‘guilty’ with food,” Kearney says.
Her advice for first-time Olympians
Embrace the significance of the games, and really enjoy the moment.
Move she wants to master
The back layout. “It has a full twist, and I’ve been working on it for two or three years,” Kearney says.