Memories from FIS Freestyle World Championships in Deer Valley
The FIS Freestyle World Championships 2011 in Deer Valley (USA) wrapped up on Saturday with Dual Moguls as its last event. All in all there were 12 events hosted over 4 days, on two different venues. The inclusion of slopestyle and halfpipe were warmly welcomed both by fans and athletes.
The two resorts, both venues during the 2002 Winter Olympics and both regular hosts of competitions since the Games, teamed up to throw a party for Parkites and visitors that was enjoyed by the crowds. The spectator numbers at the resorts were large, with approximately 8000 people attending on Friday and Saturday night. Off-the-slopes destinations like Main Street were buzzing even in the week after the close of the Championships.
At Deer Valley, the resort hosted the world's best aerialists, mogul skiers and skiercross competitors. Park City was the site of the best slopestyle skiers and halfpipe skiers. The high-energy events were captivating and likely introduced some of the spectators to the next-generation disciplines as many young people gravitate toward those sorts of events.
With a total of 16 medals, the Canadians clearly showed they are World Champions. Winning medals in 10 out of 12 events, the Canadians had every reason to be happy. Jennifer Heil who earlier this month announced this would be her last season competing, finished with style and could add two WSC gold medals to her fantastic resume. Winning the moguls on the first competition day, and closing the games by winning the Dual Moguls, Heil will surely not forget this Championship anytime soon. On the men's side, 18-year old Mikael Kingsbury captured a bronze in moguls, right behind the two experienced skiers, Alexandre Bilodeau (CAN) and Guilbaut Colas (FRA). In dual moguls, the same two Canadians managed to win the small finals and could celebrate gold and silver ahead of Nobuyuki Nishi who took the only medal for Japan.
Altogether 36 nations participated in the events, having Canada leading the medals table (16), followed by USA (7) and China (3).
For the first time, TV Viewers in Europe could watch the events live on Eurosport. The commitment from Eurosport can be seen as a positive effect for bringing the two new events, slopestyle and halfpipe closer to the Olympics. “I think pretty much every competitor out there wants to take ski halfpipe to the Olympics.” a stunned winner, Mike Riddle (CAN) said after his race. Australian Anna Segal made history as the first female gold medalist in slopestyle. Canadian Kaya Turski, slopestyle X Games gold medalist kept her medal streak alive with the silver medal win. American Keri Herman took the bronze medal. In the mens' slopestyle event, local teen Alex Schlopy from Park City won the gold medal, followed by Sammy Carlson (USA) and Russel Henshaw (AUS).
The next FIS Freestyle World Championsips will take place in Voss, Norway, 2013.