PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – When Alice Merryweather was added to the US Olympic team just before the start of the games, there were no guarantees she would actually compete in a ski race.
The US’s starting slots in each race are determined after training runs so coaches can see which skiers are performing the best.
But this week, during a team meeting, she got the news she’d been hoping to hear. She’d be one of four starters in Friday’s slalom.
Merryweather has been focusing on speed events, but with the US team having good depth in the speed events at these Olympics, the decision was made to put Merryweather in the slalom to give her an Olympic start and some experience on one of the biggest stages.
She completed both runs in the slalom and finished 42nd out of 81 competitors.
“My run was far from perfect, I had a lot of problems, stopped a couple of times, but I was determined to make it down, I wanted to cross the finish line and say I completed an Olympic run and I’m really happy to have done that, it was so fun,’’ she said after the morning run.
Now, her name is in the Olympic record books.
“It’s unbelievable, I still can’t wrap my head around it,’’ she said.
Her friends and family have naturally been thrilled for her. The past year has seen the 21-year-old go from World Junior champion to the US Ski Team “B’’ level to a spot on the Olympics team.
“I’ve had notes from people that I knew in middle school and haven’t talked to since then, so it’s been amazing and I appreciate everything that everyone has said to me,’’ she said.
She also said learning to ski in New England helped her this week.
“When we first got here, it was freezing cold and really windy, and most people were really thrown off by that, but I grew up in those conditions. It’s cold, it’s icy, and it’s windy, and that’s kind of what I’ve always known. So it felt normal to be here,’’ she said.