Tammy Crow had to put it all aside for about four minutes. The sport-utility vehicle veering off a snowy road. The two people who died. The three-month jail sentence awaiting back home.
Shrugging off critics who said she had no place on the U.S. team, Crow fulfilled her life's ambition by helping the Americans win a bronze medal.
The Russians, overcoming a glitch in their music that forced them to start over, completed a sweep of the synchronized golds with a team performance that received perfect 10s across the board in artistic impression. The Japanese took silver and the Americans were third.
"It's been a roller coaster in the last year and a half," Crow said. "I've had the worst part of my life and now the best part of my life."
Her celebration won't last long. She is set to report to jail Oct. 25.
The 27-year-old Californian pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter in a wreck 18 months ago that killed her boyfriend, Cody Tatro, and 12-year-old Brett Slinger.
Crow entered a plea she thought would result in probation. Instead, the judge gave her 90 days in jail, but suspended the sentence until after the Olympics so Crow could continue training with teammates.
For Crow, swimming was "a way to keep living."
"But I've never escaped how I feel, and what I go through every day," she said. "I work with those feelings every day."