Mont-Gabriel: Bloom, Bahrke lead strong U.S. moguls showingMONT-GABRIEL, Quebec – Defending World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom, who clinched his second Olympic berth by winning the U.S. Ski Team Olympic trials a week earlier, finished second Saturday in the first World Cup moguls of the new year as U.S. men went 2-4-5-6-7-8.

Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke, continuing her rebound from injuries that reduced her last two seasons, earned her first top five of the season, finishing fourth in the women’s contest. Michelle Roark was fifth to give the U.S. Ski Team two top-five finishers.

‘It was a tough day, but we had a lot of people in the top 10 in each comp’ head coach Jeff Wintersteen said, ‘and five in the top five, so we didn’t get a win, and ‘only’ Jeremy’s podium, but it was a good step back into competition for us.

‘I could see in their eyes they’re ready to really step it up next week at Deer Valley. I liked an awful lot of what I saw today from our athletes.’

Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau, who won both the moguls and dual moguls national championships last March at Mont-Gabriel, won the men’s event with 27.66 points to 26.97 for Bloom, who led the qualifying run. Travis Mayer was fourth with Toby Dawson fifth, Dave Babic sixth, Nate Roberts seventh and Travis Cabral eighth.

For the women, Olympic champion Kari Traa of Norway won with 26.80 while World Cup champion and current leader Jennifer Heil of Canada was second (26.32). Behind Bahrke (25.35) for the Americans were Roark, Jillian Vogtli in eighth place, Emiko Torito in 11th and Laurel Shanley 16th.

‘That’s my first top five, my first Olympic qualifying criteria result and I’m very happy’ said Bahrke, the 2003 World Cup champ who fractured her jaw in a bizarre accident midway through the 2004 season and then tore knee ligaments last winter. ‘This was good, very good.’

‘Shannon and Michelle are both skiing consistently now, which is really good to see’ Wintersteen said. ‘It’s nice to see them coming back.’

The visit to Mont-Gabriel, west of Montreal in the Laurentians, was necessitated by a labor dispute at Mont Tremblant, the originally schedule site. From here, the World Cup moves to Deer Valley, Utah, the 2002 Olympic freestyle venue and host of the 2003 World Championships, for the Chevrolet Freestyle International Friday and Saturday. Then it’s on to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup Jan. 20-22, the final Olympic qualifying event before the U.S. Olympic team is named Jan. 25.

– Courtesy USSA News Bureau

World Cup freestyle results

1. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada, 27.66 points.
2. Jeremy Bloom, United States, 26.97.
3. Janne Lahtela, Finland, 26.86.
4. Travis Mayer, United States, 26.79.
5. Toby Dawson, United States, 26.51.
6. David Babic, United States, 26.36.
7. Nathan Roberts, United States, 26.11.
8. Travis-Antone Cabral, United States, 26.05.
9. Dale Begg-Smith, Australia, 25.91.
10. Mikko Ronkainen, Finland, 25.72.
11. Sami Mustonen, Finland, 25.34.
12. Jesper Bjoernlund, Sweden, 25.01.
13. Chris Wong, Canada, 24.84.
14. Marc-Andre Moreau, Canada, 23.83.
15. Maxime Gingras, Canada, 21.66.

1. Kari Traa, Norway, 26.80.
2. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 26.32.
3. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 25.88.
4. Shannon Bahrke, United States, 25.35.
5. Michelle Roark, United States, 25.24.
6. Sara Kjellin Sweden, 24.89.
7. Audrey Robichaud, Canada, 23.79.
8. Jillian Vogtli, United States, 23.46.
9. Stephanie St. Pierre, Canada, 23.18.
10. Kristi Richards, Canada, 23.17.
11. Emiko Torito, United States, 23.16.
12. Miyuki Hatanaka, Japan, 23.05.
13. Margarita Marbler, Austria, 22.64.
14. Ingrid Bernsten, Norway, 22.47.
15. Aiko Uemura, Japan, 16.79.

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