Caldwell and Abramenko win in Minsk, while McKinnon and Bohonnon claim globes
MINSK, BLR – The 2014/15 aerials World Cup season came to an end on Sunday in Minsk, Belarus, with the US team lead by Kiley McKinnon and Mac Bohonnon walking away with an impressive collection of hardware, including the men's and ladies' aerials crystal globes.
Training in Minsk was delayed by several days as warm and damp temperatures adversely effected course preparation. However, with a dedicated team of workers and some patience, a good day of training took place on Saturday and Sunday's competition went off as planned.
In Sunday's ladies' competition it was another US athlete, Ashley Caldwell, who lead the way. As the only lady performing triple jumps (an especially impressive stat considering she was doing so after only one day of training) Caldwell utilized her explosive jumping style to take her second win of the season handily, scoring 99.63 and besting her teammate McKinnon by more than 14 points.
“We only jumped one day here before the contest day today, and I hadn’t done any triples at all, so I was kind of nervous,” said Caldwell of her performance, “I went up and the first jump I did was nasty. But then the rest of the day I was just ripping into jumps and going big.”
With the win, Caldwell passed Danielle Scott (AUS) and finished in second place in the 2014/15 aerials World Cup rankings.
For McKinnon, then, it was business as usual, as she performed a final jump full, double full that she was just able to hold on to the landing of, earning a score of 85.30, her fifth podium of the season, and, at just 20 years of age, the 2014/15 aerials crystal globe.
“It’s kind of hard to describe what just happened,” said McKinnon. “It’s been so long since a U.S. woman has gotten this globe. It just makes me feel so honoured to represent the U.S.
“Tonight was the same plan as all my other World Cups. I did full, full for my qualification and final one jump, and then did full, double full for the super final. The conditions were way better than we were expecting. Staff worked really hard to keep the site up to par and it ended up being a really awesome event.”
Third place on the day went to Veronika Korsunova (RUS), who executed a picture perfect lay, full, to earn a score of 80.04 and her third podium of the season.
In men's competition, Bohonnon went into Minsk needing just 30 points to catch and pass Chinese standout Qi Guangpu (who would not be on hand in Belarus to try to defend his 2013/14 title), and he got all of that and more with a clutch super final performance that saw him set down a beautiful double -full, full, full that may have actually won him his third event of the season were it not for a small bobble in his landing.
“To win a globe is a dream come true,” said Bohonnon. “I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time. And to do it 10 years after Speedy (Jeret Peterson, the last US man to win the AE globe) did it feels really special. He was a huge influence on me and motivated me to get in to the sport of aerials.”
The win on Sunday went to Oleksandr Abramenko (UKR), who performed the same double-full, full, full jump as Bohonnon, but was able to set his landing down spotlessly, earning a 122.62 to Bohonnon's 119.91.
Third place on the day went to the lone Belarusian athlete to podium in front of the home crowd, as Denis Osipau was able to step up and nail a lay, double-full, full, for third place.
On top of Bohonnon and McKinnon's crystal globes, US aerialist Alex Bowen was awarded the men's trophy for rookie of the year, and the entire US team received the aerials Nations Cup trophy for the team's overall performance.