“This one is for Speedy,” said American aerialist Dylan Ferguson hoisting his skis in the Deer Valley finish area, dedicating the first World Cup podium of his career to his late teammate Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson.
Ferguson, whose previous best finish was a fifth-place result in Lake Placid in January, finished second under the lights tonight behind China’s Jia Zongyang who took his second victory of the season with a top score of 128.96.
Canadian Olivier Rochon rounded out the podium in third place with a 111.78-point score in the four-man super final.
In a trial of the new Olympic format, the field was qualified to 12, then down to eight and finally a Super Finals of four – with scores reset with each round and no jump allowed twice.
“It’s a lot of strategy,” said Ferguson whose performed a full double full-full (three flips, four twists) in round one, a double full full-full (three flips, four twists) in round two and a full full full (three flips, three twists) in the Super Final. “You have to watch the other guys and see what they do and I watched everyone put really good jumps down so I knew I had to do the same thing and it worked out for me.”
It was Ferguson’s first podium in 30 career World Cup aerials starts. Teammate Scotty Bahrke finished sixth.
Tonight’s event was dedicated to the memory of U.S. Olympic silver Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson, who tragically took his own life in July, and began with the crowd hooting and hollering in a fitting tribute to the late, fun loving skier. Many jumpers also wore SB stickers on their helmets to honor Canadian freeskier Sarah Burke, who died last month due to injures she sustained while training in the Park City halfpipe only a few miles from where they were competing tonight.
The women’s podium was once again dominated by Chinese as Xu Mengtao took her fourth victory of the season with a top score of 95.88. Her teammates Cheng Shuang and Kong Fanyu joined her on the podium in second and third, respectively.
Allison Lee was the only American woman to reach the first final round of 12 women. She finished 10th with a score of 75.83. U.S. veteran Emily Cook did not compete, opting to continue rehabbing a nagging leg injury.
“There was something special in the air tonight,” said USSA Freestyle Program Director Todd Schirman. “Everybody trained well but the biggest thing is using the strategy. Dylan used his two big jumps in the first two rounds and put himself in a good spot and he performed one of his best full-full-fulls in training today and stepped it up there in the finals. Alli Lee had a personal best. Scotty had the best jump of the entire season.”
The World Cup action in Deer Valley wraps up tomorrow night with men’s and women’s dual moguls competitions.
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