FILE UNDER -- Freestyle

USA's Pack on the podium in China; Canadian, Aussie take wins

USA’s Pack on the podium in China; Canadian, Aussie take wins{mosimage}USSA — Joe Pack took things down a notch Sunday on his final jump and stuck his landing to finish second in the aerials event at Harbin, China, his first podium of the season.

The men’s winner was World Cup leader Steve Omischl of Canada while Australian Lydia Lerodiaconou won the women’s event that concluded the first weekend of World Cup skiing events in China. Kate Reed was tops for the U.S. in ninth.

Omischl received 246.71 points for his two jumps and Pack, rounding into form after nursing knee and back problems through most of the preseason, had 237.68. Fourth Saturday in the historic first World Cup ski competition in China, this is Pack’s first top-3 result since ending the 2003 season with a third-place finish in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.

Ierodiaconou, ending teammate Alisa Camplin’s four-meet winning streak, had 193.82 points to 177.29 for Russian Anna Zukal with Camplin, the women’s points leader, third. Reed, who dragged a hand on her second landing, was ninth with 156.12.

“That was the old Pack out there today,” said U.S. head coach Jeff Wintersteen. “You could see it in his confidence. It’s been getting better every competition. He’s got his takeoff back and he keeps getting better and better.”

“I was feeling it all day,” Pack said. “It was cold pretty windy at times but it was fun. “I’ve got my confidence and I’m just looking to have fun. The results are coming.”

His podium lifted Pack into fifth place in the World Cup standings. Reed is 10th in the women’s points.

Kelly Hilliman, fourth Saturday,, and Jeret Peterson both crashed in their semifinals jump. Hilliman finished 20th and Peterson 23rd.

The next aerials World Cup action is February 28 in Spindleruv Mlyn with the World Cup Finals March 10 in Sestriere, Italy.

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