Small was 5.31 seconds off the USA’s Julia Mancuso in 29th after the Downhill component before finishing the Slalom with the 12th best time.
“I am just so excited,” said the ecstatic youngster.
“The best part for me was coming down and leading and then getting to go in the leader’s circle. That was definitely a highlight.”
While the result may have surprised fans in Sochi and back home in Australia, Small was confident she could push for a top 15 finish.
“I definitely believed in myself because if I didn’t believe in myself then who else would.”
The Downhill was no doubt the more challenging of the two components for Small who managed to just sneak into the top thirty for the Slalom leg.
“I messed up the first turn (at Forest drop) and that pushed me back.”
“I was happy from the Tunnel Jump down to the finish but that top bit lost me a lot of time.”
Small then showed her promise when she completed the Slalom in a time of 52.31 seconds.
“Watching everyone come down and struggling on that section on the course coming into the compression at the combination was interesting.
“I struggled myself there but I managed to fight and hang on and ended up 15th.
“It was a fight to the finish but I went as quick as I could.”
After finishing her event Small hung around and watched the fight for the medals.
“It was so cool watching everyone come down.
“I was so happy after the first run that I made the flip and was second out of the gate for the Slalom run.”
Gold medal favourite Hoefl-Riesch was extremely impressive in the Slalom run to move from fifth to the top step of the podium as Austria’s Nicole Hosp won silver and a jubilant Mancuso claimed the bronze.
With all the medallists over a decade older than Small there is no doubt that the youngster will be a force to be reckoned with in coming years.
“This is just the beginning,” Small, who is skiing the full five events at these Games said.
Matthew Bartolo | sochi2014.olympics.com.au