Shouldice, Cheng take Worlds Aerials titles
The world’s best aerialists took to the skies tonight (Feb. 4) at the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Championships in Deer Valley, Utah tonight in front of a crowd of thousands. Canadian Warren Shouldice and Chinese Cheng Shuang took home the gold medals.
Cheng scored a combined score of 188.40 after two jumps to take the win ahead of teammate Xu Mangtao in second with 188.23 points. Ukrainian jumper Olga Volkova rounded out the podium in third with 178.59 points. Mengtao also won a silver medal at the 2009 Worlds.
“This is very exciting, I’m very satisfied with this result,” said Cheng. “I was glad to be the third Chinese girl to win a World Championship, it’s very good for us. This is the best hill in the world. Every time I come here I get a good result, I love it here.”
Americans Ashley Caldwell and Emily Cook finished fourth and seventh, respectively.
“My first jump was sweet, I was really happy with it. I stayed straight and landed and it was awesome,” said an energetic Caldwell, who won her first World Cup two weeks ago in Lake Placid. “My second jump wasn’t as good but I got business done.”
Cook was the top qualifier and held the lead after the first round of final jumps. A slight mistake during her second jump forced her to slap her back on the landing.
“It’s a really challenging sport and that’s why we love it. Every jump counts and I had great jumps until that last one,” said the 13 year U.S. Ski Team veteran on her sixth trip to Worlds. “Unfortunately it cost me the good finish that I wanted.”
Shouldice secured the men’s victory after performing the highest scoring jump of the night with a 139.50 leap on his second attempt. He took the win with a combined score of 253.66. Current World Cup overall leader, China’s Qi Guangpu earned the silver medal with a 250.95-point score ahead of Belorussian Anton Kushnir in third with 249.63 points.
Shouldice had to fight from behind after finishing the first round of jumps in seventh place.
“Obviously I was pretty far behind after my first jump I knew these two put up some big scores and to be honest, I was hoping to maybe put a little pressure on them and maybe squeak in for third, but I had the jump of my life and was able to just beat these guys,” said, Shouldice, who counseled with his sports psychologist between jumps. “I just tried to keep my head in the game and I knew that if I landed a good jump anything could happen.”
World Championship competition continues tomorrow with ski halfpipe competitions in the morning and dual moguls in the afternoon.
Image by Gepa
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