With his face bruised and swollen, the bridge of his nose bloodied and his injured right hand aching, Jeret Peterson has never been better, thank you. After taking a pounding training for his signature quintuple-twisting jump for the second consecutive day, Peterson, fourth after qualifying Friday, stuck the Hurricane in competition once again and held on for his second consecutive win at the Chevrolet Freestyle International aerials competition.
DEER VALLEY, Utah — With his face bruised and swollen, the bridge of his nose bloodied and his injured right hand aching, Jeret Peterson has never been better. After taking a pounding training for his signature quintuple-twisting for the second consecutive day, Peterson, fourth after qualifying, stuck the Hurricane once again Friday night and held on for the win at the Chevrolet Freestyle International aerials competition.
“It is hurting to win like this,” Peterson said with a smile. “I’d like be able to have good training and better competition, but I’m obviously not going to complain if I’m able to land on top of the podium.”
The win electrified the home crowd and gave Peterson the yellow leader’s bib for the season. Canadian Steve Omischl, second a day ago, held a commanding lead after qualifying, but with Peterson already in the finish having stomped the Hurricane, Omischl came up just short in landing his second jump. The crash slid the disappointed Omischl back into seventh and forced him to relinquish the standings lead. It also assured that Belarussian Anton Kushnir’s first podium appearance would be a second, with Stanislav Kravchuk of the Ukraine rounding out the podium.
Peterson’s remarkable back-to-back victories are the fifth and sixth of his career and come after he felt he had to spend the offseason completely away from the sport. “I took the entire summer off so I wouldn’t have to worry about being burnt out,” he said. “I didn’t have to worry about not wanting jump. I’ve been coming out every single day this winter loving what I’m doing.”
As for the bumps and bruises, it’s all part of the business for Peterson. “I just have to be able to come out and throw a bunch of them down,” he said. “I have to take the hits, I have to be able to get back up and go to the top and try it again. As you guys saw in training, it didn’t go very well — I ended up doing six twists in the one in training and I was very disappointed in it. But I had to get my game face on, I had to refocus and get up to the top and do what I came to do and that’s to jump and try and land.”
Kushnir also did just that, sticking both his jumps to come from relative obscurity, notching his career-best finish with his second. The 22-year-old from Minsk had a previous best of eighth and he finished 15th in the previous day’s competition. “It is my first podium and I am so happy,” he said. “Today I was in good form. For me, this place is better than other places. I like it very much. … It has a very good kicker.”
Perhaps lost in the Hurricane hysteria is the fact that the U.S. Ski Team has now won four of six events at Deer Valley with a new cast of athletes and coaches populating the freestyle team. “It’s been awesome,” freestyle program director Jeff Wintersteen said. “We especially love to win at home, so it’s great to win here at Deer Valley, first with Shannon [Bahrke], then with Nate [Roberts] and [Hannah] Kearney was skiing well, so that’s really good. And last night was just magic. Speedy finally does the Hurricane, five twists and sticks it, then tonight is just great. We’re just on a roll right now and it feels good.”
As for Peterson, he’s apparently just hoping to survive his practice rounds and make it to the competition, where he can shine like no one else. “It hurts my confidence tremendously,” he said of his practice crashes. “But the biggest thing is that you don’t want to win training. That’s exactly what you don’t want to do. So I feel that I accomplished that pretty well because I landed on my face [in training].”
The ability to put aside practice crashes and nail the competition is how Peterson has been making his hay in Deer Valley, but stepping up big under pressure is something Peterson’s childhood coach Kerry Miller has seen him do many times. “He’s always had a tremendous amount of innate ability,” Miller said. “He’s always been able to land it when he needs to. That’s his biggest thing ever since he was a little boy.”
Landing back-to-back Hurricanes, however, is something no one, even Miller, had seen before. The crowd at Deer Valley were treated to that first.
AERIALS ADDENDUM: Temperatures plummeted into the single digits during the day and approached 0 degrees during the evening … Peterson competed with his right hand wrapped with an Ace bandage … The Colorado band The Samples played upon the completion of the event … The atmosphere was noticeably more electric than the previous night, as an energetic crowd, the first crowd of any note of the series, packed the finish area … Ryan St. Onge, who did not qualify for finals, tried out his hand at TV broadcasting, interviewing women’s winner Evelyne Leu and Austrian Christian Rijavec … It was Rijavec’s final World Cup after a 17-year World Cup career that began in 1991. He finished 12th and admitted that he still got butterflies at the start. "At my age, you need 10 jumps until the fear is gone. You go up, you’re scared the same way you were before. To fight the fear is the worst," the 34-year-old said. Rijavec competed at Deer Valley nine times in his career with one top 10 finish. He also tore two knee ligaments in a crash at Deer Valley earlier in his career. "I needed [tonight's] jump to please my soul and leave the sport happy," he said. … An excited Steve Omischl let out a loud “Yeah” and pumped his fists upon landing a back-full-double-full-full cleanly in qualifying … In a crystal-clear indicator of how fine the line is between success and failure, and how dire the consequences of failure are at 40 feet off the ground, France’s Aurelien Lohrer, running directly after Omischl in round one, lost control in the air attempting the same jump as Omischl and crashed to the ground on his side and back. He was taken down in a sled by Deer Valley ski patrol. … Stanislav Kravchuk had the sound bite of the evening. When asked about his jump in the finish area by the PA announcer, the Ukrainian offered, “Whooooo, I was just flying. Then I catch the landing.” Simple enough.
— Don Cameron and Sam Flickinger contributed to this report
FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Chevrolet Freestyle International
Deer Valley Resort
Park City, Utah — Jan. 12, 2007 (Night)
Men's aerials-2 (12 made finals)
1. Jeret Peterson, Boise, Idaho, 252.26
2. Anton Kushnir, Belarus, 230.75
3. Stanislav Kravchuk, Ukraine, 229.63
4. Xiaopeng Han, China, 225.64
5. Vladimir Lebedev, Russia, 225.42
15. Dylan Ferguson, Amesbury, Mass.
17. Ryan St. Onge, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
30. Scott Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif.
32. Zac Amidan, Heber City, Utah