“This has definitely been a different year than four years ago,” said Roberts,
referring to his missing the cut for the Torino 2006 Games. “I was fourth in
the world and second in the U.S. and current world champion and didn’t go to
the Olympics. This year I got a podium early in Finland and I’ve been banged
up every since. It’s been a crazy, emotional rollercoaster.”
After the team announcement, the U.S. moguls squad took a week off be-
fore heading to Steamboat, Colo., for a week-long Olympic team camp.
Moguls will be one of the first skiing events of the Games. “It’s a great opportunity to come out of the gate and show what we have,” said Rawles of the
moguls event’s top billing. “It’s on primetime television and it’s a great way to
make a statement for the U.S. We are going to keep the focus going these next
couple weeks but we are also going to enjoy this time. It’s a rare opportunity
to go to the Olympics, not only for the first timers but people like Shannon
[Bahrke] who will be going to her third and last Olympics.”
Jennifer Heil, made the trip to Lake Placid to take advantage of training but
opted to rest rather than to compete and risk injury so close to the Games.
The men’s podium was also true to the current World Cup standings as
France’s Guilbaut Colas, who has said he is looking at the World Cup as “just
practice” for the Games, earned his second win in as many contests ahead
of former Canadian skier turned Australian Dale Begg-Smith in second and
Swede Jesper Bjoernlund in third.
Where Kearney used the lack of pressure to her advantage, without the need
to succeed Deneen fell limp, finishing 37th at the bottom of the U.S. barrel.
In a make-or-break effort Michael Morse led the American team in fifth, his
fifth top-1 0 result of the season, to seal his first berth on an Olympic team.
Wilson, who moved from the C Team to the A Team after earning a pair of
second-place finishes at the season opening event, returned to the top 10 for
the first time with an eight-place finish that officially named him to the Olympic team.
Though Park City’s Nate Roberts was back home nursing injuries from
tough falls in Deer Valley, he got the good news that he made his first Olympic
team thanks to his third-place finish at the season opener.
Americans Shannon Bahrke, Hannah Kearney and Heather McPhie swept
the women’s top three spots in Lake Placid.
Lake Placid Aerials, Jan. 22
Belarus has been at the top of the World Cup standings all season long
thanks to aerialist Anton Kushnir. The 25-year-old Eastern European
jumper tallied his third World Cup victory of the season in Lake Placid,
landing on the top of his fifth podium in as many competitions.
Australia’s Lydia Lassila also pulled in the second of back-to-back wins in
Lake Placid ahead of the usual squad of Chinese jumpers (Li Nina in second
and Zhang Xin in third).
American jumper Emily Cook remained sidelined in Park City after bruising
her heel at the Calgary World Cup. As her teammates did their best to claim
a spot on the Vancouver list, she clung to hope that a pair of top- 10 World
Cup finishes in the first two stops would hold her own spot. She stayed put, as
the best any American woman could do was Jana Lindsey’s eight-place finish
ahead of Schnoor in 10th. Lindsey was assured an Olympic spot after no other
U.S. competitors could land a top-five finish to match her fourth-place finish at the season opener in Changchun, China. American young gun Ashley
Caldwell, 16, just missed the final round, finishing in 13th place and outside
of the Olympic quota bubble, at least temporarily.
After qualifying sixth in the men’s event, Kushnir jumped in the middle of
the pack in the reverse-order format. His score of 253.10 held as three Canadians fought for redemption from their lackluster results of late. Canadians
USSA(2); CFSA (BLAIS)
Guilbaut Colas gets some air on the way to
winning his second in a row in Lake Placid.
Dale Begg-Smith, Guilbaut Colas and Jesper Bjoernlund represent the
top of the World Cup standings on the Lake Placid podium.