Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney says she owes it all to her mom.

“I wouldn’t have skied if it wasn’t for her. She literally skied with me between her legs to teach me how to ski,” Kearney said.

From the beginning–and through thick and thin–Jill has been along Hannah’s side, including in 2006, when Hannah didn’t make it out of the qualifying rounds.

“I was also in Torino when she didn’t make finals, so we always joke that we’ve done the agony of defeat and the thrill of victory, which is much sweeter!” Jill said.

But things were looking up–way up–in 2010 when Hannah won first place in moguls.

“I knew she was in a groove. She was just skiing so well, and she looked so confident in training. And I think Olympics, a lot of people don’t realize even as parents, you really do not get to see your child.”

Jill, watching from a distance as a spectator, immediately started running towards Hannah at the finish line.

“When they announced that she won the gold, I thought–I mean, you just want to hug them. You know, this is your child.”   

When she finally reached her, the hug wasn’t a small one.

“I think I said: ‘Ah! Get off me!’ She wouldn’t let go of me! She was hugging me and she wouldn’t let go of me. So unfortunately, I think the first thing I said was: ‘Okay! That’s enough!’” Hannah said.

“We hugged in the finish area, and I think it meant just as much to her as it did to me because she saw the failure four years before and she’d been there throughout my entire career,” Hannah said of her mom.

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