Troy Murphy often talks about the good days and bad days of moguls skiing, how they go hand-in-hand. But last week he discovered that pretty much every day is a special one when you’re competing at the Winter Olympics.

“Oh it’s been awesome so far,” he said in a phone conversation from PyeongChang, South Korea. “Absolutely everything about it was worth it.”

Murphy, the 25-year-old Bethel native and 2010 Gould Academy graduate, finished 17th in the men’s moguls after having the fourth-best score in the qualifying round.

“You have some good days, some bad days,” he said. “That one (the first round of finals) just wasn’t my day … Just made a couple of mistakes and there’s no room for mistakes like that in this sport.”

Murphy’s journey to the Olympics was a long one, aided by not only his parents but the communities of Bethel, Gould Academy and Sunday River. They supported him financially through fundraising auctions and golf tournaments, allowing him to not only train year-round but compete on the world stage. Murphy entered the season ranked sixth in the world in men’s moguls.

Since walking wide-eyed into the opening ceremonies on Feb. 9 – “That was just super cool, walking in with everyone” – Murphy has made the most of his Olympic experience. He watched fellow Americans compete in luge, hockey (U.S. women vs. Canada) and downhill skiing (Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom).

Family and friends made the trip – his mother Nancy and father Matt; his girlfriend, Shelby Caret; aunt Mary Grossman; and family friend Tom Holloran. After moguls finished, they all spent a day in Seoul, explored temples and visited coastal villages.

“It just felt right having them there,” Murphy said of his family. “They sacrificed just as much a I did to get here. It feels like it was only right and fair they were able to come. It was awesome to have them around, to see my first run, which they were super-stoked about. It was cool.”

The first run, where the top 10 scorers qualified for the first round of finals, produced Murphy’s best score of the season, 80.95. It was a near-flawless run and he executed his two jumps perfectly. “It was a really good run,” said Murphy. “I was feeling really good that day.”

When he finished that run, he pumped his fists and gave the television camera a big thumbs-up. Not so three days later. After finishing his second run, he anxiously watched the scoreboard to see if he would finish in the top 12 and advance to the second round of finals. “I knew it was not what I was going to need,” said Murphy.

It wasn’t a bad run – in fact, he had a better time – but his overall score, 72.72, wasn’t enough to advance and he finished 17th. His biggest mistake came on the second jump at the bottom, where he squatted when he landed and nearly hit his butt on the snow. He knows exactly what happened:

“I just didn’t have my flip right,” he said. “I was flipping a little bit slow so I had to pull in my knees. And when you pull in your knees, you kind of accelerate into the landing hill. So when I accelerated into the landing hill, I kind of over-rotated a little bit.”

And his landing was just off.

“It was tough,” said Matt Murphy. “But that’s the way it’s been from Day 1, coming on up through.”

Matt Murphy, who arrived home with Nancy at 11 p.m. Wednesday and was at work the next morning at Gould Academy, said the entire experience was surreal.

“I don’t know if it’s yet sunk in yet, to be honest,” he said. “I mean, who knows what Troy’s going to do? Is he going to go four more years? Looking back it’s still hard to believe we are where we are.”

Troy Murphy isn’t thinking about the 2022 Winter Olympics, to be held in Beijing.

“I haven’t gotten that far,” he said. “I’m still processing the event and I’ve got some more World Cup events.”

He leaves Monday for Japan and a World Cup date March 3, meaning he’ll miss the closing ceremonies. Two more World Cup races will follow in Switzerland and France before he comes back for the U.S. moguls nationals at Waterville Valley Resort in New Hampshire on March 20-24.

He’s also trying to schedule a trip home after that. “But that’s also the time of year I usually go to Alaska,” he said. “I’m going to try to see how I can make it all work out.”

He’d like to see all those who helped make his dream of competing in the Olympics come true.

“My qualifying run was awesome and I wanted more on that second day, to have a shot at the medals,” he said. ‘It just didn’t go my way. But I’m proud to have made it this far.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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