Anton Kushnir and Emily Cook won spectacular aerials show in Moscow
World bronze medallist Anton Kushnir of Belarus bagged his second FIS freestyle skiing World Cup win of the season with a fine outing in the aerials event.
Last nights FIS Freestyle World Cup should have been spectacular, with the aerialists set to jump off a massive scaffold built specifically for them right in Moscow’s famous Gorky Park. Unfortunately, all did not go as planned.
Gusting head and cross winds, a challenging site and a security sweep that forced the athletes and coaches of the site in advance of a visit from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, all worked against the athletes.
In the end, the aerialists only got one competition jump each, and the vast majority of the men had to downgrade from their customary triple twisting back flips, to less spectacular doubles.
The key issue that hampered the jumpers was that the in run, already short because of the nature of the manmade site, was woefully inadequate for the athletes to get enough speed once they were faced with high winds.
Kushnir, who finished third in the recent World Championships in Deer Valley, chalked up a mammoth score of 119.91 points to easily secure victory in Moscow.Second went to Ukraine's Stanislav Kravchuk, who amassed 102.57 points – the exact same score as Guangpu Qi of China, who completed the podium in third place.
Guangpu still leads the overall standings with one event remaining but Kushnir has now closed the gap to 93 points, ensuring he can still take the title if he wins again in his home country when the season climaxes in Minsk and his Chinese rival fails to trouble the scorers.
Meanwhile, in the women's event, the USA's Emily Cook finally found her way onto the World Cup podium in the Russian capital – and she did so in style, taking a fine victory.
Cook has finished fourth on two occasions this season and had to make do with seventh at the World Championships but she notched up 93.06 points to take the win.
Ukraine's Olga Volkova took silver with 85.83 points while third place went to Xin Zhang of China, who collected 84.1.