St. Onge and Cook lead U.S. effort at aerials finals


St. Onge and Cook lead U.S. effort at aerials finals{mosimage}RUKA, Finland (March 18) – World Cup champion Nina Li of China and Canadian former champion Steve Omischl won aeirals gold medals Friday night at the 2005 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in 5-degree weather. Ryan St. Onge (Steamboat Springs, CO) had the top U.S. result, finishing sixth

World Cup champion Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (Boise, ID) crashed on his final jump under the lights, coming up short while trying to land a full, triple-full, full (five twists, three flips) and was 12th. He did not appear to be seriously injured but was being tended to by U.S. medical staff.

Omischl, the 2004 World Cup champion, who took Peterson to the final event of the season before yielding his title, had 258.98 points. Teammate Jeff Bean was silver medalist with 253.61. Both landed quad-twisting triples (four twists, three flips).

St. Onge had 222.05 for sixth place while Peterson, who led the World Cup points from January at Mont Tremblant, Que., finished with 177.42.

“The guys had difficult conditions [-18 C.] but they gave it a run. Speedy wanted to try that full, triple-full but he couldn’t pickup the ground and he came in short,” said Head Coach Jeff Wintersteen. “It was an awesome effort and he seems to be okay, but he hit hard and he’ll be stiff in the morning.”

Li had 197.37 points for the women’s win with Swiss aerialist Evelyne Leu silver medalist at 196.01. Cook, coming back this season after 2-1/2 years on the sidelines while recuperating from severe injuries to each foot in a faulty landing before the 2002 Olympics, received 169.39 with Lindsey 10th (155.56).

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Wintersteen said. “Speedy got some good mileage on his full, triple-full and he knows some more things about it that he didn’t a while ago. It’s only the second time he’s thrown it in competition…and it’s good experience. And we know when ‘Stonge’ [St. Onje] is on, he’s hard to beat. Three wins for speedy and two for stonge this year, and that’s a huge step forward from a year ago.

“And the women have made such progress, not just the four here but Jill Priest [Park City, UT], too. She’s Rookie of the Year and what they’ve all done in a single year has been amazing,” the coach said. “We pushed ‘em hard and they responded. What Matt [Christensen, aerials head coach] and his staff have done in bringing them along is outstanding.”

He added, “We had six girls competing on the World [including Lacy Schnoor - Draper, UT]; none of us would have figured on that a year ago. It’s been a great learning year for all of the women, and we’ll be working aggressively to step-up their DD [degree of difficulty on jumps] this summer. It’s good to have Emily back and it’s going to be quite a summer.”

The World Championships swing to moguls for the weekend – moguls Saturday and dual moguls Sunday. The Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships will be staged March 24-26 at Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort and Utah Olympic Park.

2005 FIS FREESTYLE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ruka, FIN – March 18, 2005
Men’s Aerials
1. Steve Omischl, Canada, 258.98 points
2. Jeff Bean, Canada, 253.61
3. Alexei Grichin, Belarus, 246.19
4. Dmitri Dashinski, Belarus, 225.16
5. Kyle Nissen, Canada, 224.05
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6. Ryan St. Onge, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 222.05
12. Jeret Peterson, Boise, Idaho, 177.42

Women’s Aerials
1. Nina Li, China, 197.37
2. Evelyne Leu, Switzerland, 196.01
3. Xinxin Guo, China, 183.94
4. Anna Zukal, Russia, 181.72
5. Alla Tsuper, Belarus, 179.43
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7. Emily Cook, Belmont, Mass., 169.39
10. Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, S.D., 155.56

For complete results: FISSKI.com.

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