Ashley Caldwell won her first World Cup victory in aerials

22 January 2011 07:55

American teen Ashley Caldwell grabbed gold for her first freestyle World Cup medal, winning the aerials event on her home hill Friday. China's Qui Ganugpu was the winner of todays men's division with 250.70 points.


Just four years after switching from gymnastics to skiing, Olympian Ashley Caldwell won her first career World Cup Saturday at the Nature Valley Freestyle Cup. The 17-year-old threw a stunning second jump to clinch the win in her adopted hometown of Lake Placid.

The 17-year-old Caldwell beat Alla Tsuper of Belarus and Xu Mengtao of China just one week after her previous best World Cup finish, a 10th-place in Quebec. She was fifth among the 12 skiers in the final round and won by cleanly landing a back-full-double-full jump. Caldwell, the 2010 World Cup Rookie of the Year, was fourth after her first jump. But in the finals, she rode a wave of wind, soaring higher than she had ever jumped before, to take the win. Her 99.93 on the second jump was an amazing score for a double flip.

"I hadn't landed that jump until this week," said Caldwell, who trains year-round in Lake Placid. "This is one of the most exciting days in my life."

Ashley Caldwell scored 187.65. Alla Tsuper of Belarus was second at 186.42 and Mengtao Xu of China was third at 183.82.


In the men’s division, China’s Qui Ganugpu was first at 250.70, Ryan St. Onge of the U.S. was second at 246.21 and last year’s World Cup overall title holder, Anton Kushnir of Belarus, took the bronze medal at 241.42.

Guangpu was the top finisher in the men's qualifying round, and his lead held up when he landed a back-full-double-full-full jump in the final. St. Onge's silver was the first of his World Cup aerials career, which started in 1992. He has nine victories and one third place.


1. Guangpu Qi, China, 250.70
2. Ryan St. Onge, Winter Park, CO, 246.21
3. Anton Kushnir, Belarus, 241.42

1. Ashley Caldwell, Charleston, SC, 187.65
2. Alla Tsuper, Belarus, 186.42
3. Mengtao Xu, China, 183.82