There was no looking at positives or celebration of winning a medal of any sort from the 27-year-old from Vermont, the tears that flowed unabated told the tale of a woman who felt she had just blown four years of hard work.
The goal had been to become the first freestyle skier to win two gold medals but that all ended when, going last in the final, the American fluffed the landing off her first jump.
Days later, Kearney is feeling a little bit better about the experience. She told Sochi reporter Tim Kelchner on Monday she would've liked to do better but she'd proud to have contributed to the medal count. For now, she'll stay on Sochi as a spectator.
"I feel like I let myself down," said an emotional Kearney who has dominated the event since winning gold in Vancouver four years ago. "I wanted that gold medal and I skied for it but I made a huge mistake and you can't win at the Olympic Games when you make a mistake.
"You don't prepare for this moment, you prepare for success but life does not always go according to plan," she told reporters. "I have to treat this bronze medal as a reward for fighting but not for perfection."