FILE UNDER -- Freestyle

Spindleruv Myln: Roark, Roberts on podium in final pre-Olympics moguls

Spindleruv Myln: Roark, Roberts on podium in final pre-Olympics moguls{mosimage}SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic – It was a double podium for the United States Saturday as Michelle Roark and Nate Roberts finished third in a World Cup moguls event.

Norway’s Kari Traa topped the women’s field and was followed by France’s Sandra Laoura. Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau was first in the men’s event with Australian Dale Begg-Smith in second.

Roark, continuing her string of solid performances, led six American women into the top 10. She was fourth at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, on Jan. 28 and won back-to-back World Cups prior to that at Lake Placid, New York, and Deer Valley, Utah. Roark, who qualified first, nailed her run Saturday, which included a back flip and a bronco (heli/spread).

Jillian Vogtli threw a near-perfect D spin in her run and placed fifth.

“It was the best one she’s done in competition,” said head moguls coach Don St. Pierre.

Shannon Bahrke and Hannah Kearney, both Olympic team members, finished seventh and 10th, respectively. Bahrke landed a pair of off-axis 720s, while Kearney, third in qualifying, skied well but had a few minor mishaps.

Sandwiched between Bahrke and Kearney was Emiko Torito in eighth and Shelly Robertson in ninth.

“The women really rose to the occasion today,” said St. Pierre.

It was the first podium of the season for Roberts, who narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics. He threw a back full and a back-flip cross during his run.

“He had a great day and delivered,” said St. Pierre.

Olympic team member Toby Dawson was a bit forward on his first jump and went over the bow to finish 50th.

Jeremy Bloom, also heading to the Olympics, took the day off but did get in some solid training in the Czech Republic.

Heavy snow and fog made for tough conditions, including low visibility and slick course conditions.

“We had ever-changing conditions,” said St. Pierre. “There was sheer ice under the new snow, which caused snow buildup between the bumps. You had to treat the course with respect and precision.”

The mogul skiers leave the Czech Republic Monday and head to Sauze d’Oulx, Italy, for the Olympics.

The Spindleruv Mlyn World Cup, the final pre-Olympic stop on the tour, concludes Sunday with aerials.

– Courtesy USSA News Bureau

Freesyle World Cup results

1. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada, 27.36 points
2. Dale Begg-Smith, Australia, 26.44
3. Nate Roberts, Park City, Utah, 25.95
4. Artem Valinteev, Russia, 25.65
5. David Babic, Washington, Vt., 24.84
Other U.S. athletes
12. David DiGravio, Farmington, Maine, 14.34
50. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo.

1. Kari Traa, Norway, 26.44
2. Sandra Laoura, France, 26.13
3. Michelle Roark, Denver, Colo., 25.50
4. Nikola Sudova, Czechoslovakia, 25.22
5. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 25.20
Other U.S. athletes
7. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 24.82
8. Emiko Torito, Denver, Colo., 24.80
9. Shelly Robertson, Reno, Nev., 24.35
10. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt., 23.75
16. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn.

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