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Meet the Olympian who was thrilled to finish fifth

Casey Andringa celebrates after his run on Monday. (Reuters photo)

Make no mistake: Casey Andringa would have rather been standing on the podium at the end of Monday’s freestyle men’s moguls in PyeongChang.

At the same time, “this was everything I could ask for,” Andringa said.

It’s not every day that an Olympian who finishes fifth can be described as thrilled. But every article on Andringa spoke of how upbeat the 22-year-old was after finishing two spots away from a bronze.

The reason for the first-time Olympian and national team member was a simple one.

Or two simple ones, really.

The first explanation: Andringa went for broke on his final run, trying a trick called a cork 10 truck driver. While it was a move that Andringa has never done in a competition, it would have increased his chances at securing a medal.

Watch his final run here:

Andringa wasn’t able to land it, but he left the course with no regrets.

“I’d rather go for broke and miss it rather than lay one up and be sitting in fourth because I had more to give,” Andringa told TeamUSA.org.

The second explanation: The finish marked the end of a long road for Andringa that included contracting a rare disease called orbital cellulitis as well as meningitis in 2014.

Both conditions can be fatal, but Andringa recovered.

Only to tear the meniscus in both knees.

“There were points when everything seemed to be pointing to me to be done,” he said to TeamUSA. “I just kept getting so close to making the national team, then something would happen. Even last season, I had my best season ever and still went unnamed to the team. It definitely beat me down a little bit.”

After a pep talk from his dad, Andringa spent last summer living in a camper with his brother and training in Colorado, California, Oregon and Canada. Since the brothers had no outside funding, they had to be frugal, consisting on cans of tuna and rice.

While Andringa wanted to be realistic about his goals — making his first world cup — he performed well enough to make the Olympics and be the only American in the final six in the moguls event.

Now that he has a good Olympics experience under his belt, Andringa can look toward the future.

“I’m just getting started,” he told TeamUSA.