A recap of the unique FIS Freestyle World Cup season 2010/2011
After 64 successfully completed competitions, FIS Freestyle World Cup has come to an end. From an overall perspective, it has surely been a highly interesting season with young athletes challenging the older ones, dominating nations within disciplines, but also an increased interest in this fascinating sport we work with.
Organizing 64 competitions on 22 different locations based in 14 nations requires a lot of work and planning. If you compare the FIS Freestyle World Cup to any other World Cups the last season, there's one unique thing about it; all competitions were hosted according to the plan. No cancellations due to bad weather or major delays due to injuries. All competitions except USA were live productions, and the TV distribution has increased significantly. The successful season could not have happened without professional organizers and experienced teams. Teams that have been involved with Freestyle skiing for ages, but still manage to create yet another thrilling season. Because it was.
We can all predict who the Overall World Cup Winners will be, and to keep the excitement throughout the season we can only hope that there's several athletes fighting to the bitter end. That's exactly what happened this season, with the Overall World Cup Title not being decided until the very last event. For Guilbaut Colas (FRA), it was his first Overall World Cup Title after finishing second the last four years. For Hanna Kearney (USA), she could add it to her nice collection of globes having won the World Cup season in 2009, and finishing third last year. What's mutual for both of them; their moguls season consisted of hard work, strong performances, fenomenal skiing and winning when it counts the most.
In aerials, both overall World Cup globes went to Chinese athletes. They also grabbed the Nations Cup globe, leading with over 700 points down to Ukraine who came second. There is no doubt that China was the dominant nation this season, and the interest around this spectacular sport is still increasing, especially in the Asian region. Talented European athletes should be mentioned as part of the key for driving this sports to a higher level though, whereby Olga Volkova from Ukraine, who finished third in the overall, and last years winner, Anton Kushnir (BLR) and the established Renato Ulrich (SUI) who all made it to the top 3 in the overall standings. By having more nations represented on the podiums, it leads to a more exciting competition throughout the season and the potential for developing the sport and recruit new athletes increase.
The Canadians have a long tradition when it comes to moguls skiing, which once again was evident with Canadian athletes finishing second and third in both ladies and mens' Overall moguls World Cup title, in addition to winning the Nations Cup in moguls. The star of the year was however Hannah Kearney from USA. Out of the 10 competitions she competed in, she won nothing less than 9 of them and finished second in the remaining one. The 25-year old expressed her success with the following words: "I should set more goals. I wanted to win both the moguls and the overall but I didn’t know I was going to do it by winning nine events. It is really, really satisfying." Her goals for next season have not been announced yet, but we can only think that she's going for a hat trick with her kind of performance. With the Canadian athlete Jennifer Heil ending her astoning moguls career this year, Kearney has all possibilities to reach whichever goals she sets.
Ski cross which was first added to the FIS Freestyle World Cup in 2002 has had a massive interest since the very beginning. What helped increase on the interest this season was definitely the excitement of who would win the Overall World Cup. On the ladies side, a tight fight between Heidi Zacher (GER), Anna Holmlund (SWE) and Kelsey Serwa (CAN) was not decided until the last competition in Voss-Myrkdalen. Holmlund who won all her races this day and could celebrate both the final victory for the season as well as the Overall Ski Cross globe. An extremely good season by Zacher allowed her to climb nothing less than 28 places on the overall ranking compared to last year where she finished 30th. On the men's side, with the injured Mike Schmid (SUI), it lead to a fairly easy win for Andreas Matt (AUT). With a margin of 200 points he won the overall Ski Cross globe ahead of DelBosco (CAN) and Pellinen (FIN).
The last World Cup event took place in La Plagne, and would settle the battle of the Half Pipe globe. Once again, the Canadian dominance affected the results, having Sarah Burke and Rosalind Groenewoud on a shared 1st place in the Overall. Virgine Faivre (SUI) finished third, only 15 points behind. On the men's side, Benoit Valentin and Xavier Bertond from France took respectively 1st and 2nd place in the Overall, closely followed by David Wise (USA).
Overall World Cup Winners:
KEARNEY Hannah (USA) – 91.73 pts COLAS Guilbaut (FRA) – 76.45 pts
HEIL Jennifer (CAN) – 64.73 pts MATT Andreas (AUT) – 74.91 pts
CHENG Shuang (CHN) – 63.14 pts BILODEAU Alexandre (CAN) – 67.18 pts
For a complete overview of World Cup winners, please have a look here: http://www.fisfreestyle.com/uk/leader-board.html?discipline=ALL&count=15