Aerials and moguls all set for Bokwang Olympic test event
Bokwang, KOR - A weekend that has been circled on the 2016/17 FIS Freestyle calendar by many since long before the snow started to fall has finally arrived, as the athletes of the aerials and moguls World Cup tours have descended on Korea’s Bokwang Phoenix Park for their Olympic test events ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
This weekend will mark the third round of Olympic test events in Korea after hugely successful slopestyle and ski cross competitions were held at Bokwang last season. Halfpipe, the last FIS Freestyle event to have its chance to get a little taste of what to expect come time for PyeongChang 2018, will see World Cup competition next weekend.
The two days of World Cup competition slated for this weekend will see aerials competition on Friday and moguls on Saturday.
Friday’s aerials World Cup will begin with ladies’ qualification at 13:40 local time (KST), followed by the men at 16:20, and finals under the lights taking place at 19:00. Moguls, meanwhile, will see the same 19:00 start time for finals on Saturday night, but with ladies’ qualifications beginning at 15:20, followed by the men at 17:05.
Danielle Scott and Qi Guangpu hit halfway point atop standings
The aerials competition in Bokwang will mark the start of the second half of the 2016/17 season, and with this and two more competitions to go this winter there’s still a large collection of athletes on both the ladies’ and men’s side who could step up and take control of the World Cup leaderboard.
With 282 points, Danielle Scott (AUS) is the current ladies’ World Cup leader on the strength of one victory and two runner-up results in four competitions so far this season. While she ended up with a disappointing 12th-place result last weekend in Lake Placid, Scott has generally been the most consistent aerials athlete on tour this season, with her after flawless form giving her an edge in any competition despite not having any triple flips in her trick quiver.
Right behind Scott is two-time crystal globe winner Xu Mengtao (CHN) with 240 points, while 18-year-old Russian phenom Liubov Nikitina remains within striking distance with 189. Reigning aerials crystal globe winner Ashley Caldwell currently sits in fourth.
For the men, Qi Guangpu has climbed back atop the leaderboard with 280 points after a dominating performance last weekend in Deer Valley. The two-time reigning world champion, Qi appears to be rounding into top form just in time to defend his world champs gold once again, and he will be tough to beat from here on out.
Second overall with 208 points is Anton Kushnir, the reigning Olympic gold medallist. Kushnir, however, did not start last weekend in Deer Valley, and it is questionable if he will be able to go on Friday. Third overall with 189 points, meanwhile, belongs to Mac Bohonnon, the 2014/15 aerials crystal globe winner.
Bokwang aerials World Cup data page (live scoring & results)
Kingsbury and Cox coming hot into Bokwang
With five moguls competitions left in the season (three single, and two dual moguls events), the two hottest skiers on tour are also the World Cup leaders, as Britt Cox (AUS) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) come into Bokwang fresh off two-podium performances in Deer Valley.
Cox has been the breakout story of the season on the moguls World Cup, as the 22-year-old whose previous best finish on the moguls overall was 14th has suddenly become nearly unstoppable in 2016/17.
Cox has four victories and five total podiums in six events this season, including her first career dual moguls win last weekend in Deer Valley. Now sitting at 505 points, the already eight-year World Cup veteran appears to be getting stronger in every contest.
Second overall belongs to reigning Olympic gold medallist Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN), though, at 151 points back of Cox, she will have her work cut for her in a push to add her first career crystal globe to her list of accolades. France’s Perrine Laffont sits in third overall with 331, as the 18-year-old has struggled to climb back on the podium after opening the season with a pair of runner-up finishes.
For the men, Kingsbury comes off an incredible moguls and dual moguls sweep of the top spot on the Deer Valley podium becoming the first athlete to pull off such a feat at the legendary venue and opening up a sizeable lead upon the World Cup field.
Behind Kingsbury’s 520 points is 23 year old Ben Cavet (FRA) who now has four podiums and 323 points on the season. Sitting in third overall, just three points back of Cavet, is Matt Graham (AUS), who is leading the men’s charge in an exceptional season for the Australian moguls team.
Bokwang moguls World Cup data page (live scoring & results)