DENVER — American freestyle skier Jaelin Kauf has returned to the United States after winning silver in moguls at the Winter Olympics and said she is still "floating on cloud nine."
"It's been an amazing journey so far, and I'm just so happy to have brought a medal home, back to the states, and to celebrate with everyone," she said Thursday in an interview with 9News.
Kauf, who was born in Vail and trained in Steamboat, scored 80.28 in the medal round of freestyle skiing moguls, earning Team USA's second medal of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Australian Jakara Anthony won gold, and Anastasia Smirnova of ROC won bronze.
This was the second Olympics for Kauf, who now lives in Park City, Utah. She said the pressure wasn't as intense for her this time as it was in Pyeongchang in 2018.
At my last Olympics in 2018, I went in No. 1, and I felt all of that pressure," she said. "It's really hard to be able to deal with mentally. It's just really hard to compete at that level and be in the right headspace. I feel really lucky that I was able to get into such a headspace for this Olympics."
One of the toughest parts about this Olympics was COVID protocols that meant she had to isolate from family and friends before the Games, she said. She appeared on the Today Show on Thursday morning and got to do something she hadn't been able to for weeks.
"They brought out my mom, who I haven't been able to hug since Christmas. It was so, so special," she said.
What's next for the new Olympic silver medalist?
"I'm going to go home and celebrate with everyone," she said. "... But we do also have a few more World Cups in March, so [I'm] going to be preparing for those, as well."
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