Things just keep getting better for Wyoming Area’s Stephanie Jallen.
First, she achieved her goal of making the USA Paralympic team. Then, she was named to the team heading to Sochi, Russia, to compete in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.
Then there was the moment she stood atop the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center for her second and final run in the women’s Super G competition.
She began talking to herself and kept it up the whole way down the mountain, reaching speeds of 60 mph. “Stay on it, stay on it,” she said repeatedly. You could hear the skis rattling off the hard-packed snow. She crossed the finish line. First.
Jallen, in her first run in her first games, was on top of the podium. As competition went on, Jallen was knocked to third. Bronze. But she’ll take it. And more.
Stephanie crossed the line in 1:30.14 to secure her podium position ahead of teammate Allison Jones by more than half a second.
“This is absolutely incredible,” Jallen said via TeamUSA.org. “It’s something I only dreamed about. I have never been a bigger believer that dreams come true than right now. I’ve imagined it for the last nine years of my life, and in my very first run in the Paralympic Games I score a bronze.”
But the Wyoming Area senior wasn’t finished.
Jallen completed two races in the super combined in 2:23.13, just .39 seconds behind Andrea Rothfuss of Germany. Marie Bochet of France won another gold, finishing comfortably in front with a time of 2:18.39.
The Harding teen was second in the super-G, just .24 seconds behind Bochet of France. Jallen finished in 1:25.15, making up 1.73 seconds on Rothfuss.
The super-G was the second of two races that make up the super combined, being teamed with a slalom. The races were both supposed to be held earlier in the week, but weather hampered those plans, adjusting the schedule of races.
“We were first and foremost preparing for super-G, so it is not so difficult to switch to super combined,” Jallen, said in a story published on the Paralympics website. “Super combined is never an easy run. It’s a battle getting down.”
Jallen was third after the slalom, finishing in 57.98 seconds. Bochet paced the field in 53.48 and Rothfuss was second in the first half of the super combined in 55.86.
Jallen took a very direct line through the final two gates, crossing the finish line and falling onto the snowpack. She got up, raised her hands over her head. Bronze again.
Only eight of the 17 entries completed the slalom on Tuesday.
Jallen goes for a third medal today, the final day of competition in Sochi. The women’s giant slalom is scheduled, with two runs to determine the order of finish.
Through Saturday morning, the United States had won 16 medals — one gold, seven silver and eight bronze. Jallen has two of them. The only other U.S. Paralympian with two medals is fellow alpine skier Laurie Stephens, who also has a pair of bronze medals.
Jallen was recently named the 2013 Greater Pittston Person of the Year by the Sunday Dispatch. She is the youngest to win the award, which will be given to her on Tuesday in one of her first public appearances back in the States.
The Stephanie Jallen Paralympic Fund, Inc. will hold a press conference upon her arrival back to Pennsylvania at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday in the Wyoming Area library.
“I can’t wait to bring it home. I can’t wait to call my mom, my trainer Ernie and my boyfriend, they are all home and stayed up late to watch,” Jallen said following her first bronze via TeamUSA.org.