Above: Lydia Lassila claims a new world record in Park City.
Below: Michelle Roark flies like an eagle for the Park City crowd.
JAMES WINEGAR; JULIE SHIPMAN
Jia, 19, topped the men’s podium for his second career World
Cup victory, followed by three Belarusians in the top four.
World Cup overall leader Anton Kushnir claimed second as
teammates Alexei Grishin (the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist)
and Timofei Slivets were third and fourth, respectively.
The top North American was last season’s world champion
bronze medalist, Canadian Warren Shouldice, in sixth place.
American Dylan Ferguson earned a career high in seventh.
U.S. Olympic Trials winner Jeret “Speedy” Peterson finished
12th ahead of teammates Ryan St Onge in 25th and Scotty
Bahrke in 28th.
The Canadian men also dragged with Kyle Nissen finishing
14th and Ryan Blais finishing 19th.
Local favorite and defending World Cup champion Steve
Omischl of Canada sat out the competition out with a minor
concussion. The 31-year-old had hit his head on the snow while
training the previous week at the Canada Olympic Park.
Deer Valley Jan. 15
By the time the last female jumper — defending World Cup
champion Lydia Lassila of Australia — got her turn at the Visa
Freestyle International in Deer Valley, Utah, she had the great
wall of China to climb. Out of 16 finalists, five Chinese skiers
had filled the top of the results.
Lassila was up to the task, throwing down a World Cup record
220.91-point score, overtaking teammate Jacqui Cooper’s former top score earned at the Torino 2006 Games.
Kushnir showed why he leads the World Cup standings with
his second win of the season. His teammate Dmitri Dashinski
joined him on the podium in third. China’s Qi Guangpu finished second for his second career World Cup podium.
“I’m really glad for my finish today and glad for four starts and
four podiums,” said Kushnir, who has podiumed in all four of
this season’s World Cups. “Things are going really good, and I
hope in Vancouver to continue this good feeling.”
Ferguson again led the U.S. with a World Cup career-best
sixth-place finish ahead of teammate Petersen, a two-time winner at Deer Valley, in 12th place.
“It’s awesome for me right now, I’m really getting excited going into the Games,” said Ferguson, who performed two quad
twisting triple back flips. “This is my best result so far and it
feels really good.”
St Onge (a three-time winner here including last year’s competition) and defending World Cup champion Omischl were
eliminated from the final after missing their landings during
Kushnir took the lead overall standings by 104 points. His
closest competitor was Chinese jumper Jia Zongyang in third
followed by teammate Qi in third, 155 off the lead.
On the women’s side, Xu Mengtao finished second ahead of
Li in third.
Caldwell and Schnoor were the only Americans to qualify for
finals. Schnoor’s rough landing pushed her to ninth place and
Caldwell finished 10th in her second World Cup.
After Deer Valley, Chinese jumper Guo XinXin (fourth in Deer
Valley) was leading the overall standings, 29 points ahead of Xu
in second. Li was only 34 points behind Guo in third.