The 2017/2018 aerials World Cup concludes in Lake Placid
Lake Placid (USA) - The second of back-to-back competitions in Lake Placid went in the books on Saturday, finishing off the aerials World Cup season on a high note with Xu Mengtao (CHN) and Maxim Burov (RUS) taking big victories under the lights on their way to both athletes securing the 2017/18 aerials World Cup crystal globes.
It was another perfect evening at the iconic freestyle venue in Lake Placid with all main contenders on hand and ready to lay it on the line, throwing down their best one more time before the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea which get underway in just a couple of weeks time.
Xu rules the World Cup tour yet once again
In the ladies’ competition it was Xu Mengtao (CHN) who made a clutch performance on Saturday night with her back Full, Full, Full, being the only lady in the finals to successfully land a triple flip. Dropping in as the last competitor in the ladies’ super final Xu received the high score of 112.99 for her jump to put her on top of the podium on the day.
By taking a top spot in Lake Placid Xu also clinched her second consecutive and fourth in total aerials World Cup crystal globe, outscoring Hanna Huskova (BLR) 405 to 361 points, in an interesting back-and-forth battle that was going on between the two since the first World Cup competition of the season back in December in Secret Garden (CHN).
“It feels very good to bring home the crystal globe for the second time in a row,” stated Xu after the competition. “It was a difficult season and I had to push myself with the triples in order to stay on top. Now heading to the Games I feel confident with my jumping and I’m looking forward to give my best in Korea”.
The crystal globe runner-up Huskova, despite losing her yellow bib to Xu on Saturday, seemed to be pretty happy with her overall performance this season, taking a big win in the season’s opener to back it up with a second podium finish in Friday’s event in Lake Placid as well as regular super final appearances throughout the season. If she can only hold on to her superb consistency for a couple more weeks, we might be looking at one of the favourites for a podium finish from the Belarusian in Korea.
Friday’s winner Lydia Lassila finished the Saturday’s competition on the second place, for her second podium finish this weekend, while another ‘Flying Kangaroo’ Laura Peel rounded out the ladies’ podium on third, also grabbing her second bronze in the season’s grand finale in Lake Placid.
Maxim Burov steps it up to take the globe
Things were also very exciting over on the men’s side of the event, which saw the crystal globe decision ken down to a battle between two athletes, as Jia Zongyang (CHN) and Maxim Burow (RUS) owned spots one and two before competition in Lake Placid.
However, Jia couldn’t quite land his jump in the qualifications and as he didn’t make the cut into the finals top 12, it was all up to Burow to decide who would travel back home carrying the aerials crystal globe in his hand.
With Jia finishing the day on seventeenth, all Burov had to do was place second or higher in order to spoil the Chinese party. Under the most pressure of his career, the Russian skier went all in with his back double Full Full Full, earning a high score of 128.51 for his second victory of the season and first place in the overall aerials World Cup standing, meaning he was the one to leave Lake Placid with the crystal globe.
Second place on the day went to the Belarusian legend Anton Kushnir for his fourth podium finish this season, with Japanese veteran Naoya Tabara grabbing his career’s third World Cup podium, with his last one dating back to 2016.
As the 2017/2018 aerials World Cup season came to an end, also important to mention are the Rookie of the Year awards, which were handed in to the best newcomers on tour, Madison Vermette (USA) took the honors on the ladies side and Noe Roth (SUI) shone brightest as the best rookie over one the men’s side of the aerials world.