Zhang, Jia open World Cup aerials season with home wins, Canada’s Shouldice second
The World Cup aerials season kicked off today (Dec. 17) in Beida Lake, China as the home team nearly swept both podiums. The men’s victory went to Zongyang Jia while teammate Xin Zhang took the women’s honors.
Canada’s Warren Shouldice spoiled the all Chinese party on the podiums with a second place finish - his career 11th World Cup podium - a head of Chao Wu in third. It was 19-year-old Jia’s third World Cup win.
“Sure, beginning the season on the podium gives me a lot of confidence. And, I have been jumping well in training all week,” said Shouldice. “Now I have a few things to work on and execute better for tomorrow’s competition.”
Last season’s overall champion, Anton Kushnir of Belarus finished 8th.
It was an all Chinese podium sweep on the women’s side. Zhang (25) grabbed her career first World Cup victory with an 11-point advantage on second place, World Champion silver medalist Xu Mengtao. Shuang Cheng rounded out the podium in third.
Ukrainian jumper Olga Volkova justed missed the podium in fourth while Canadian Veronika Bauer finished sixth but injured her knee in the process.
“It’s really unfortunate,” said Bauer, who will not compete tomorrow. “Because after some difficult training everything finally clicked for me today and I was feeling really good after the first jump. Then on the second jump I snowplowed trying to save my landing, hit some ruts and just fell and hurt my knee.”
No Americans competed today.
There will be another World Cup aerials contest here tomorrow. The World Cup moguls skiing tour will be in Beida Lake Tuesday, Dec. 21 for their third competition of the season.
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