BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hagen Kearney is no stranger to the Olympics. In fact, this time around in 2022 in Beijing, it's all business.
"It's kind of like business time, get down to it, bring that previous experience into this Olympics and bring home some hardware," Kearney said.
Kearney is originally from Buffalo, and he spent his childhood in Bradford, Pa., and then moved out to Colorado when he was in fourth grade. Kearney has always been around cold and snowy environments, something that served his purpose.
If you believe in destiny, Kearney's journey has brought him from skiing at Holiday Valley to the grand state in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as a member of the U.S. Snowboardcross Team, a unique sport that combines snowboarding and racing.
Kearney remembers one of his first life moments being introduced to snowboarding right here in Western New York.
“My brother and I first got on skis at Holiday Valley and I remember being on skis and seeing snowboarders on a halfpipe, this was the mid to late 1990's I was so young. I remember thinking I truly wish I wasn't on these ski's right now," Kearney said.
Shortly after that moment, Kearney picked up snowboarding and the rest is history. An inner knowing that he found his calling. Kearney first qualified for the Olympics at Pyeongchang in 2018 where he finished in 13th place. With that experience he feels more confident than ever heading into Beijing.
“You have to go through the motions, you have to fail a lot, it takes people a long time to have success in this sport. So, I think that first Olympics is the experience you have to go through, just knowing that is already a confidence booster,” Kearney said.
We'll see how that confidence translates into this year's Olympics that begins right here on WGRZ Channel 2 and NBC on February 4.