Aerials World Cup finishes with Qi and Li on top of podium
LAKE PLACID, USA – The 2013/14 FIS Freestyle aerials season ended under the lights and heavy snow at the Lake Placid World Cup on Saturday night. While the snow made conditions difficult for the athletes, forcing many to downgrade the degree of difficulty of their jumps, it also made for an electric atmosphere for the huge Lake Placid crowd on hand to watch the best aerialists in the world slug it out for World Cup podiums, Olympic qualifications, and the aerials crystal globes for overall performance on the 13/14 season.
In the ladies' competition it was Li Nina (CHN) completing a remarkable comeback from a knee injury suffered in the 2012/13 season by winning Saturday's competition en route to taking the crystal globe as the top ladies' aerialist. Li has been one of the most dominant ladies on the freestyle World Cup for nearly a decade, and now has three aerials crystal globes to go with two freestyle overall crystal globes, three world championships golds, and two Olympic silver medals. With her performance on the World Cup circuit in 2013/14 it seems that she has an excellent chance to add the one trophy that she's missing come February in Sochi, an Olympic gold medal.
Second place on the day was 23-year-old Danielle Scott (AUS), who stuck a perfect back full, full to claim the first podium of her career and announce another podium threat for the promising Australian team. Just behind Scott in 3rd was Zhang Xin (CHN), whose back full, double full – while more difficult than the Australian's jump – wasn't executed as cleanly, earning a 87.06 to Scott's 89.77.
Xu Mengtao (CHN) rounded out the superfinal in fourth, as her decision to attempt a triple-flipping back lay, double full, full, ended up costing her when she could not stick the landing. The top US athlete on the night was Emily Scott, in fifth.
In the men's event, it was Qi Guangpu (CHN) and his back double full, full, full that took the competition over countryman Liu Zhongqing and his back full, full, double full, though it was Liu who would be awarded the crystal globe as the top competitor on the season.
While Qi and Lui performed jumps equal in degree of difficulty, a slightly cleaner execution by Qi was enough to give him an edge in score of 127.15 to Liu's 123.53. Third place on the night went to veteran Alexei Grishin (BLR), the reigning Olympic gold medal winner. While Grishin has jumped solidly this season, with two podiums and a ranking of 4th overall in the world, he will be in tough to defend his gold in Sochi, as the Chinese team continues to excel.
Dmitri Dashinski (BLR) rounded out the men's superfinal in 4th, though he did not participate in the superfinal.
Full ladies' results can be found HERE
Final ladies' standings for the 2013/14 aerials World Cup season can be found HERE
Ladies' highlights from Lake Placid can be found HERE
Full men's results can be found HERE
Final men's standings for the 2013/14 aerials World Cup season can be found HERE
Men's highlights from Lake Placid can be found HERE
Alternate link for video highlights HERE