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Abby Ringquist capping off ski jumping career with Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Tears of joy streamed down Abby Ringquist’s face at her press conference ahead of the opening ceremony in PyeongChang.

It was all business for the Park City resident on stage.

“It was hard, I wanted to give up. But I had a dream since I was five to compete in the Olympics, so I put my head down and worked harder than I have ever in my life,” Ringquist said.

Then talking about her next step, she started breaking down.

“I’ll be 29 this year. I’ve spent literally 21 years jumping. I don’t have it in me to keep financing myself to the next Games.”

Ski jumping isn’t a revenue-generating sport. Most athletes like Ringquist raise funds for their travel, training and ski jumping costs themselves. It’s something that made Ringquist think long and hard about another Olympic run after not making the team in Sochi.

This time she’s on the team.

“I woke up yesterday morning. I looked at my phone, and there was notification after notification from everybody. And it hit me really hard, and I think that was my first real cry,” Ringquist said. “This was my second real cry about the whole Olympics.”

Ringquist will begin and end her Olympic career, retiring after these games. It’s a decision she only made Thursday.

“She started jumping when she was about 7, maybe 6,” said her dad, Bob Hughes, who’s in PyeongChang. “To think that there’s one last jump coming up on Monday, that’s pretty emotional.”

There will be one last hug at the finish line so far away from home.

“I know there’s going to be some tears of joy.”

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