KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Freeskier Devin Logan never doubted that her surgically repaired knee would be ready for the Olympics. Not even when doctors said the ripped-apart joint — torn ACL and MCL, plus two microfractures — was one of the worst they had seen. Not even when she was non-weight-bearing for two long months after her knee was reconstructed.
Logan always saw herself competing on the slopestyle course at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. It was the silver medal in Tuesday’s final that came as a surprise and, initially, left her speechless.
A few hours after the event, she was able to reflect on her first Olympic medal.
“It means the world to me,” said Logan. “I’ve been watching the Olympics ever since I was young and for our sport to be on the worldwide stage and me standing up there on the podium, I was just so honored to do my country proud.”
Logan put together a strong first run in the finals, negotiating the rails with ease and going big on jumps. It was a performance that propelled her into first place with a score of 85.40.
That number stood up until Canada’s Dara Howell took the course as the round’s final skier and topped Logan with 94.20 points. On her second run, Logan knew she “had to pull out all the stops” to pass Howell. But that resulted in a run that was less clean and lower-scoring than the first.
Howell took the gold, followed by Logan, and Canadian Kim Lamarre earned bronze in freeskiing’s Olympic debut.
“I am so happy to be up on the podium with my two friends,” said Logan. “The [Canadians] are really good, as you can see, and definitely giving us a run for our money. It’s great competition and it helps us progress our sport.”
It wouldn’t be surprising to see all three medalists celebrating together in the mountains.
“I am going to go party with Devin and Kim,” said Howell. “I’m just going to really share it with my friends and family and embrace the whole experience here, and the moment.”
While the US has always taken home a large medal haul from extreme sports, Canada has been impressive in snowboarding and freestyle skiing here. Canada has won seven medals, including podium placements in freeskiing slopestyle and men’s and women’s moguls.
Logan was proud to add to the US medal count and cap her injury comeback with silver. After all, it wasn’t until early December — about 15 months after Logan left the operating table — that she regained confidence in performing her full repertoire of tricks. While she looked good in qualifying for the US team, the pressure of the Olympics plus a slopestyle course that became slushy in warm afternoon weather made the event final unpredictable.
“We saw the conditions from this morning getting on snow and it was really fast and really icy, and then it went really hot, like spring snow, so you just had to adjust to it,” said Logan. “I just thought of it as another spring day skiing with my friends.
“You just have to push through the slush, everyone has to deal with the conditions. It’s who can handle it the best.”
Logan put other skiers’ crashes out of her mind and focused on her runs. She got into the zone in her own unique way, joking around and dancing at the top of the course.
Given her method of preparing for the most important competition of her career, it’s fitting that Logan, who turns 21 Monday, plans a big stateside celebration of her medal milestone, including a birthday trip to Las Vegas and a new tattoo. She already has a mountain vista inked on her right forearm with the mantra “Don’t fear the journey.”
“My mom’s not too happy to hear about [the tattoo],” said Logan. “And it’s not going to be the Olympic rings, just so you know that.”
Logan’s mother Nancy was at the Extreme Park watching her daughter. It had been two years since Nancy has seen Logan compete. As owner of the Wilmington Candle Co. in Vermont, it is often difficult for Nancy to get away.
Logan thanked her family — her father, two older brothers, and two older sisters — for a lifetime of support that started when she first skied at Mount Snow at 2 years old. Growing up in West Dover, Vt., in Mount Snow’s shadow, she began competing in various events at 6.
“Once I finally moved up there [to Vermont], I was on snow every day and attending Mount Snow Academy,” said Logan. “Having to ski every day was a huge advantage.
“If you can learn to ski on ice [in the East], you can basically ski on anything. And I have a lot of support coming from back home. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
In four years, Logan hopes to be back at the Winter Games with a shot at medals in both slopestyle and halfpipe. She came up just short of making the halfpipe team for Sochi.
“It’s a bit of a bummer, but this definitely makes up for it,” she said. “The next four years I want to hopefully get a halfpipe medal, as well.”
Though she now has an Olympic silver medal, Logan made it clear that’s not what motivates her.
“I ski because I love the sport,” she said, “and I have loved it since I started.”Shira Springer can be reached at email@example.com.