Caldwell and Qi shine at the individual aerials competition in Beijing
Beijing (CHN) - For the third straight season Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium kicked off the FIS Freestyle Aerials World Cup season. Among 50 World’s best athletes it was Ashley Caldwell (USA) and Guangpu Qi (CHN) to grab the win in the individual competitions.
After two days of training on the impressive 41-meters-tall construction top 12 ladies and men, selected after the morning’s qualifications, stood at the top of the enormous ramp ready to begin the fight for the aerials yellow bib. Surprisingly one of the favorites and the regaining Crystal Globe holder – Mac Bohonnon – could not put down a clean run in the qualifications and finished in the second half of the pack.
It was once again Guangpu Qi (CHN) to take the win at the home soil in the men’s competition. Last year’s back-to-back winner showed he is in the perfect form and that he loves to perform in front of the home crowd. Qi showed consistency, style and excellent execution all day long and after his final back double Full Full Full it was clear who would stand on the highest step of the podium.
“I felt really good today and I really wanted to win in Beijing again,” said Qi. “It’s great to compete in China and it’s really motivating to grab the win at home,” he added.
Second place went to Petr Medulich (RUS) who grabbed his first World Cup podium since his third place in Lake Placid in 2013.
Olympic Silver medalist from Sochi, David Morris (AUS) rounded up the podium in the first World Cup appearance after the one-year brake he took last year.
“China is always interesting and it was a perfect start of the season,” claimed Morris. “The conditions were great and the stadium is just epic. I was a bit nervous coming after the long break, but I ended up third and I’m already looking forward to the team event on Sunday” he finished.
On the ladies’ side it was Ashley Caldwell (USA) who won the finals despite the minor knee injury, which almost eliminated her from coming to China. Caldwell went technical on jumps and as the only lady in the competition stomped the triple flip – back Full Full Full.
Xin Zhang stepped it up for China and took the second place. Zhang who missed the whole last season is back in the game and is looking to bring back her good World Cup form from 2013/2014.
Similarly to the last year’s competition the last podium place went to Kiley McKinnon (USA). Taking into consideration that McKinnon won the Crystal Globe at the end of the season, it’s hard not to see her excitement with today’s results.
Aerials World Cup continues on Sunday with the Team Event competition. The Finals are scheduled for 19.00 local time (12.00 CET).