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’ starting slots in each race are determined after training runs so coaches can see which skiers are performing the best.
But during a team meeting this week, Merryweather got the news she’d been hoping to hear. She’d be one of four starters in Friday’s slalom.
The Hingham, Mass., native has been focusing on speed events, but with the US having good depth there at these Olympics, the decision was made to put Merryweather in the slalom to give her some experience on one of the biggest stages.
She completed both runs and finished 42d 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,” she said after the morning run. “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.”
Now her name is in the Olympic annals.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.”
Merryweather’s friends and family have 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 Olympic team.
“I’ve had notes from people that I knew in middle school and haven’t talked to since then,” she said, “so it’s been amazing and I appreciate everything that everyone has said to me.”
Merryweather 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,’’ she said. “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.”Matt Pepin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpep15