The injury section of Serwa's official Olympic bio reads like a human anatomy exam: back, thumb and rib injuries in 2011; ruptured knee ligament after getting caught up in another skier's pole in 2012; re-tore the knee ligament last March. And that's just the bad stuff.
Serwa advanced to the medal race after rallying from fourth to second over the last 100 meters or so of her semifinal. She picked through some danger and outraced Switzerland's Fanny Smith to the line.
"As much a mental as a physical battle," Serwa called skicross, with all its injuries and momentum changes.
Thompson, meanwhile, essentially breezed through her day.
She was ahead through almost the entirety of every race she ran. Now, Whistler, British Columbia has brought home back-to-back golds in this event. Thompson's goes alongside the one Ashleigh McIvor won in 2010. McIvor retired in 2012.
"I got to watch Ashleigh win while I was on my couch," Thompson said. "I saw her win and I was like, 'Wow, I can do this, too.'"
This marked Thompson's third and biggest victory of the season, and the gold medal will look good next to the crystal globe she won in 2012 as the World Cup champion.
The 21-year-old followed the path of so many skicross racers. She was an Alpine skier who first tried the more rough-and-tumble version of her sport when she was 16 and "had a blast."
"I started doing skicross because I loved it," she said. "It's the most fun you can have on skis."
And as she showed on the podium, sometimes the real fun starts after the skis come off.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.