She’s worked so hard for this, and has wanted it so bad, and you know I’ve watched her through the ups and downs. It’s awesome to watch her walk away with a medal. —Olympian Maddie Bowman on Brita Sigourney's bronze medal win
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Watching her good friend Annalisa Drew bump her off the Olympic podium with her last run made Brita Sigourney sick to her stomach.
The 28-year-old Park City resident stood, hands on her knees, at the top of the halfpipe contemplating what she needed to do if she wanted to leave Pyeongchang with the medal she’s worked years to earn.
“Anna made me nauseous to my stomach before I dropped,” Sigourney said. “But I just focused on my skiing and I knew what I had to do. I just cleaned everything up a little bit.”
She didn’t do what she and her coach discussed.
She didn’t do anything insane.
She just offered a cleaner version of the run she’d attempted earlier, and it was enough for bronze. As soon as the score flashed onto the big screen in the finish area, she and Drew engaged in a long, tight embrace.
Their teammate Maddie Bowman, the defending gold medalist, had already crashed on her third attempt, ending any hopes of a second medal for one of the best female freeskiers in the world.
And while Bowman was red-eyed from her own disappointment, she got choked up talking about what bronze meant to Sigourney.
“I’m very excited for Brita,” Bowman said, choking back emotion. “She’s worked so hard for this, and has wanted it so bad, and you know I’ve watched her through the ups and downs. It’s awesome to watch her walk away with a medal.”
Canadian Cassie Sharp was the most consistent of the day, but she won on her second run, which earned her 95.80 points. France’s Marie Martinod earned silver with her second run (92.60 points). The real drama came between the American skiers as Sigourney was in third place before Drew’s final run.
Drew earned a 90.80, which put her in third place. But she would only hold that spot for a single skier as Sigourney did just enough to edge her off the podium, earning a 91.60, with a run that was almost too close to call.
Afterward, the native of Carmel, California, had trouble putting her accomplishment into words. She gave up California's beaches for Park City's snowy mountainsides after briefly playing water polo at UC Davis. It was there she realized her passion — and talent — was in skiing.
“I’m speechless right now,” she said. “I tried not to put any pressure on myself, but obviously when you’re in the moment, you really want it. Just to come away with that, and to be able to land all of my runs today, and do what I want to do, I feel accomplished and so relieved.”
She and her coach discussed what she might do on her final run, but she changed her mind as she dropped into the frozen pipe.
“I actually bailed on what I was supposed to do with my coach,” she said. “But I was just feeling it, and I just did what I wanted.”
Sigourney said the camaradarie of the team has sustained her through some tough stretches, including multiple injuries, and she was proud to have earned a medal with such an impressive competition.
"I just feel to proud and honored to are a part of this group of girls," she said. "It was such an inspiring competition. They put down the greatest runs I’ve ever seen in a halfpipe
"This team has been through a lot together — hard training days, good training days, good and bad competitions. I was there when Maddie won gold at the last Olympics and she was there for me today. She was so supportive. It’ just so touching and it makes you feel so much better when your teammates are there to back your success." She said Bowman's success inspired her, and her desire really took hold of her before that final run.
"I didn’t realize how much fire I would have this time around," she said. "I really wanted it and I don’t think I realized that until I dropped in on my final run and thought ‘I REALLY want this.’ I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I’m just so proud to he a part of the three girls on the podium — and Anna’s run in fourth place was just amazing!. I’ve never seen an entire field of women be pushed so high in one event. This was a high point for our sport."
Like most of the women on the U.S. team, she enjoyed a large crowd of family and friends to cheer for her.
“I’m so grateful for them,” she said. “I love them so much. I didn’t even grow up in the snow. My parents have made all of this possible for me, and to see it pay off like this is just so humbling, and I’m so grateful. I just have so much love for my family.”