Beijing World Cup to start aerials season off on a high

17 December 2014 01:03
The Bird's Nest stadium, Beijing
The Bird's Nest stadium, Beijing -
FIS/Buchholz

BEIJING, CHINA – The 2014/15 aerials season is set to get going in a big way, with aerials competition taking place from Dec. 20-21 at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, China.

Built to host the opening ceremony, closing ceremony, and a slew of events for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the Bird's Nest has been transformed again over the past several weeks from a Summer Olympic venue into an aerials mecca for its second annual turn on the FIS Freestyle calender. Disappeared is centre field of the grass pitch, and in its place is a massive, regulation-sized aerials venue constructed of scaffolding and snow.

Last year's competition was one of the great highlights of the World Cup season, with tens of thousands of fans in attendance to witness the best aerials athletes in the world go toe-to-toe in the incredible Bird's Nest venue. This season, fans will be treated to both a night of men's and ladies' World Cup competition on Dec. 20th, as well as a rare aerials team event on the evening of the 21st.

While the perennially strong Chinese team had an excellent showing in last year's event – with Zhang Xin claiming victory and Xu Mengtao taking third in the ladies' event, and Wu Chao, Jia Zongyang, and Qi Guangpu going 2-3-4 in the men's event – Lydia Lassila's second place showing for the ladies' and Travis Gerrits' victory on the men's side certainly left something to be desired for a host squad that was looking to sweep both podiums.

Lassila has retired since the end of last season, but Gerrits will be back and looking to put on a strong showing at the site of his first career victory, and his Canadian team will be bolstered by the return of 2011/12 crystal globe winner Olivier Rochon after a season off due to injury.

And while members of the Belarusian team will be on hand, we will see neither of gold medallists Alla Tsuper or Anton Kushnir in attendance, with Tsuper retiring after the Games and Kushnir following a Belarusian pattern of taking time off in the first season following an Olympic year. Also, Li Nina, fourth place in last year's Sochi Games, has also since retired, creating another opening on the ladies' side.

Australia's strong team, lead by Danielle Scott and Sochi silver medallist David Morris, will be looking to take advantage of these absences, as will the young American squad lead by Mac Bohonnon and Ashley Caldwell. And while it seems the Chinese vanguard should hold strong through the early going of this new Olympic cycle, anything can happen between now and PyeongChang 2018, and the young aerialists coming up will be looking to see just what that 'anything' is.

 

Please find the programs for the Beijing aerials World Cup HERE

Find our aerials season preview HERE

Results for the 2013/14 Beijing aerials World Cup can be found HERE

Photos of the 2013/14 Beijing aerials World Cup can be found HERE