Troy Murphy got the call Monday night – he’s going to the Winter Olympics.
Murphy, a 25-year-old native of Bethel, will be part of the U.S. men’s moguls team that will compete in South Korea, with Bradley Wilson of Butte, Montana; Casey Andringa of Boulder, Colorado; and Emerson Smith of Dover, Vermont. Wilson competed in Sochi, the others are first-time Olympians like Murphy.
“To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said from Utah, where he lives and trains. “There’s some relief now. I’m thinking of the bits and pieces of what’s going to be happening in the next couple of days.”
That means press obligations, getting fit for the Olympic gear and the start of a five-day training camp.
He becomes the fourth Mainer to make the U.S. Olympic team, joining biathletes Russell Currier of Stockholm and Clare Egan of Cape Elizabeth, and luger Emily Sweeney of Falmouth.
Murphy, a 2010 Gould Academy graduate, was ranked sixth in the world coming into the season. While struggling at times, he’s also shown great potential.
He got on his first World Cup podium in December by taking a third in China. He’s ranked 12th in the world following a 14th-place finish Saturday in Tremblant, Quebec – the last World Cup event before the Olympics.
Murphy nearly made the Olympic team four years ago, coming out of nowhere to take two fifth-place finishes in the final weeks leading into the Sochi Games, but was left off the team.
“It’s been four years with my eyes on it,” he said. “But it’s been my whole life, actually. So this is pretty cool.”
His parents, Matt and Nancy Murphy, will join Troy in South Korea. They bought tickets for the Games months ago.
“We were going even if he wasn’t,” said Matt Murphy. “This is better.”
Nancy Murphy said her son’s journey to the Olympics has been long but worthwhile.
“We’re so proud of him,” she said. “The passion and perseverance he displayed over the years … it’s all come through. We’re just thrilled.”
Murphy’s career has been on a steady rise. He was the FIS Rookie of the Year in 2014 and had four top-10 finishes in 2015. After an injury-plagued 2016 season, he bounced back a year ago with six top-10 finishes.
Murphy said he was buoyed by his latest result. “I’m happy with the way I skied, clean with no mistakes,” he said. “I feel the way I’m skiing now is the best I’ve ever skied. Everything is shaping up to be really good.”
Murphy’s strength as a moguls skier always has been his jumps. He performs several jumps with high degrees of difficulty, which can give him an edge. Matt Gnoza, the U.S. coach, said recently, “It’s the same as the guys that are winning. He has that going for him and, you know, his demeanor. Through the highs and the lows, he stays collected and calm, and focused.”
Murphy didn’t get into moguls skiing until he was 10 and never thought of taking it to this level.
“I just wanted to have fun with my friends,” he said. “It’s still like that but it got me to the Olympics. So that’s pretty cool.”
There were also four women selected to the moguls team. The Olympic competitions will be held Feb. 9, 11 and 12.
Troy Murphy of Belfast was notified Monday evening that he has been named to the U.S. Olympic men’s moguls team. (Portland Press Herald/Kirk Paulsen photo)