Alla Tsuper claims ladies’ aerials gold
Competing in her fifth and final Olympic Games, veteran Alla Tsuper (BLR) was able to cleanly land a back full, full, full jump to score 98.01 and take gold in the Sochi 2014 ladies’ aerials competition.
Mengtao Xu (CHN) was the last woman to jump, needing only to land cleanly to take gold, but a hand drag in her landing meant she would have to settle for silver with a score of 83.50.
Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Lydia Lassila (AUS) attempted the most difficult jump of the evening but crashed in her landing. Still, her performance was good enough for a score of 72.12 and the bronze medal when 2013/14 FIS World Cup leader Nina Li (CHN) crashed on her less-difficult jump.
Lassila was in tears after the competition: "I was always going to go into the Olympics with the approach of all or nothing. I'm the first woman to do a full-double-full-full. It would have been great to land that jump but I was stretching for my life and I just couldn't get there."
For Xu, it was her first medal in this event in which China is the most dominant nation but it has yet to win gold. "I am very happy indeed, but it is a shame because I didn't win the gold medal. This is the fourth silver medal China has won at the Olympic Winter Games in aerials," she said.
The newly crowned Olympic Champion Tsuper did not reach the podium in her four previous participations in this event, in 1998 (5th), 2002 (9th), 2006 (10th) and 2010 (8th). "I'm very happy to be Olympic champion. I was showing my fight and my power, that I could do everything and I put trust in myself. I really wanted this victory and I was fortunate today", she happily concluded.
At the age of 34 years and 304 days, Tsuper has now become the oldest medallist in any Freestyle Skiing event.