Kearney in the groove to defend moguls title

Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:56am EST
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By Martyn Herman

(Reuters) - Success in snow sports invariably boils down to rhythm and momentum and right now American moguls skier Hannah Kearney has both in abundance as she eyes the defense of her Olympic title in Sochi.

Those two ingredients are especially paramount in her discipline and Kearney is right in the groove, dominating the World Cup circuit having won the world championships last year.

The 27-year-old from the small town of Norwich in Vermont, a fertile spawning ground for Olympians, will arrive in Russia as the overwhelming favorite to win a second gold, four years after zig-zagging down the course in Vancouver.

"I didn't suffer from any lack of motivation the last four years. Just keep going, I guess. Keep rolling with it," Kearney, one of 11 Olympians to be raised in the quaint town of 4,000 inhabitants, said after back-to-back victories in Deer Valley that cemented her place on top of the World Cup standings.

A self-confessed workaholic in the gym, Kearney refused to rest on her laurels since winning in Vancouver, easy she says when she has the "best full-time job in the world."

"Over the years, I have learned to love the training," she said of the hours spent strengthening her legs.

"Training for mogul skiing is never boring because you are training acrobatics on the trampoline and water ramps, plus you lift weights, do a lot of core, stretch, do yoga and bike, hike and run. It's truly a full-time job."

Her first five World Cup races of the season brought three first places, one second and a third, domination that makes her a huge favorite for moguls gold in Sochi.   Continued...

Jan 11, 2014; Park City, UT, USA; First place finisher Hannah Kearney of the United States takes the podium after women's FIS World Cup moguls event at Deer Valley Resort. Mandatory Credit: Jim Urquhart-USA TODAY Sports