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Laffont repeats, Fjallstrom and Graham awarded with victories in Idre
© Idre Fjäll

The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup weekend in Idre Fjäll closed out successfully on Sunday, despite programme delays and cancelations caused by capricious weather. On the women’s side it was Perrine Laffont (FRA), who doubled up in Idre with her second victory of the weekend, while over in the men’s event it was Ludvig Fjallstrom (SWE) and Matt Graham (AUS), who were both awarded with victories after the final phase of the event was called off due to low visibility.

With the men’s preliminary rounds already completed on Saturday afternoon and the women’s early heats done on earlier in the morning, the top athletes were just getting ready for their duals showdowns in the round of 16 when the first of the delays moved in. 

Dense cloud and fog covered the course during the women’s finals heats to an extent that the officials were forced to put the competition on hold right before the women’s quarter-final rounds. Luckily for all the athletes on hand there in Sweden (and all the fans watching the event in front of their screens), Mother Nature decided to play nice for a time, and soon the conditions improved and the competition was able to move forward.

Despite the weather delays the women’s dual moguls event didn’t disappoint with plenty of exciting and tight head-to-head battles for the final competition of 2020, before everyone heads home for the holiday break.

For the third time already in 2020/21 it was Perrine Laffont, who finished the competition on top of the podium, taking her second victory this weekend in Idre Fjäll and her third consecutive win so far this season  

Laffont continues to build up her lead in the overall World Cup standings, and on Sunday the French skier showed why she is the number one in the world, proving to be once again unstoppable despite facing some tough competition from the likes of Makayla Gerken-Schofield (GBR), Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) and Tess Johnson (USA), before she went against Jaelin Kauf (USA) in the big final. 

There, though Kauf pushed hard to finally break Laffont’s winning streak, the US skier was not able to control her speed in the middle section of the course and lost her balance, thus leaving Laffont with an easy win to wrap up an thrilling day of dual moguls action.

The victory in dual moguls event in Idre Fjäll also marks the 20th World Cup win of her career for for 22-year- old Laffont.

“It’s crazy,” said Laffont following the awards ceremony, “Making it back-to-back here in Idre is just amazing. With the weather today it was tough, and I really thought that the event might get cancelled. Luckily we were able to compete which is great, and then finishing with another victory is just so nice.”

Kauf, of course, finished the dual moguls competition in Idre in second spot, for her second podium in 2020/21. Third place on the day went to Anri Kawamura (JPN), who came out victorious against Tess Johnson (USA) in the small final. The 16-year-old skier from Japan claimed her second podium this weekend, after finishing in the runner-up position in Saturday’s single moguls event.

In the women’s World Cup ranking Laffont extended her lead even further and now sits atop the standings with 300 points. Second Kauf is 205 points after three competitions, while Anri Kawamura follows behind in third place with 172 points.

Once the women’s big final was in the books, the weather started to get in the way once again with just two final heats remaining in the competition. However, instead of clearing out as it had earlier, the incoming fog piled up, creating even more visibility issues and making it impossible for the judges to score the runs in a fair manner. Though officials and organisers delayed proceedings for as long as possible while looking for a break in the weather, eventually it became clear that the competition wouldn't be able to move forward.

In the end the jury decided to call off the final phase of the men’s event in Idre, and so consequently Ludvig Fjallstrom and Matt Graham - the two skiers due to show off in the big final - were awarded with victories, while small finals skiers Bradley Wilson (USA) and Jordan Kober (CAN) would be similarly awarded a tie to finish the competition in a joint third place.

It was a career first World Cup victory for Ludvig Fjallstrom, who added another podium performance to his Resume for the weekend after a third-place finish in Saturday’s single moguls competition.

As for Graham, Sunday’s win would go in the books as his first World Cup victory since January 2017, when he was able to outscore Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) in front of his home crowd in Calgary.

Bradley Wilson recorded his best results so far in 2020/21, while Jordan Kober finished the competition with his career’s best result and his very first World Cup podium.

In the men’s ranking it’s still Ikuma Horishima (JPN), who holds on to the moguls World Cup leader yellow bib with 172 points. Following his superb performance over the weekend Ludvig Fjallstrom jumps into second place also with 172 points, while Matt Graham sits in third place with 149 points.

The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup heads for a holiday break now, and will come back in the New Year with first competition of 2020 taking to the aerial ramp of Yaroslavl (RUS) on January 16-17. The next moguls World Cup event will take place in Calgary on January 28-31.

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