DEER VALLEY, Utah — Although no Americans stood on the podium today, Christopher Lillis, already named to the 2022 Olympic Team, was the top USA athlete to place, even with a crash-landing in the first run of the Aerial Championship finals.
The women American Aerialists of Megan Nick, Winter Vinecki, and Kaila Kuhn get to go to the Beijing Olympics via the US Ski Team criteria system.
Host venue for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics, Deer Valley Resort hosted the Intermountain Healthcare Freestyle International FIS World Cup Aerials today for its 24th season marking the last chance for Americans to make it onto the Beijing 2022 Olympic Team.
Athletes representing Kazhakstan, Australia, Ukraine, Canada, China, Germany, Belarus, and Switzerland are in town. Some of the US families have not only made extra effort to travel to Deer Valley but also plan on going to Europe to watch their athletes compete in World Cup venues without COVID spectator restrictions. They know they won’t be allowed into the Olympic venue since the IOC made the decision months ago to ban international spectators. US aerialist Christopher Lillis even explained in last night’s Zoom press conference that to stay healthy, even after his parents have come from New York, their family is enforcing a self-imposed ‘No Hugging policy.’
He may not be going big with relatives but he’s going big on the Deer Valley snow, throwing his first quintuple twisting triple of the season yesterday. He said, “Deer Valley’s got me jacked up and now we’re ready to go out there and do these big tricks.” Lillis, 24, lives in Park City and is the first American to contest a quintuple (five twists, three flips) since the late Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2010.
This morning’s cold temperatures and conditions favored the women’s qualification round.
Originally from Michigan, Winter Vinecki now lives in Park City, trains in the summer freestyle pool at the Utah Olympic Park, and attends school at the University of Utah. At last night’s Zoom press conference she discussed the ever-climbing degree of difficulty (DD) in the sport saying, “Most girls here are doing triple twisting double backflips and our guys doing five twists on snow. All the fun is just now starting.”
Aerial jumps are judged on air, form, and landing from a panel of five judges.
Today’s Womens Aerials single-round qualification results:
- Danielle Scott, AUS, back double full full (bdFF), DD 3.525, total score of 91.29
- Flavie Aumond, CAN, back full full (bFF), DD 3.150, total score 90.9
- Kong Fanyu, CHN, back double full full (bdFF), DD 3.525, total score 88.47
Winter Vinecki and Kailia Kuhn were the top American qualifier-round finishers in 6th and 8th places, respectively. Winter Vinecki finished the competition in 12th place just under Kaila Kuhn’s 10th place.
Today’s Mens Aerials single-round qualification results:
- Dmytro Kotovskyi, UKR, back double full full full (bdFFF), DD 4.525, total score 123.08
- Zongyang Jia, CHN, back full double full full (bFdFF), DD 4.425, total score 123.01
- Christopher Lillis, USA, back double full full full (bdFFF), DD 4.525, total score 122.62
Derek Kreuger and Eric Loughran were the next closest American qualifier-round finishers in 15th and 19th places, respectively.
Danielle Scott of Australia, Laura Peel of Australia, and Fanyu Kong of China were the top three women, in that order, in the first Finals aerials run.
Miha Fontaine of Canada, Wang Xindi of China, and Yang Longxiao of China were the top three men, in that order, in the first Finals aerials run.
Laura Peel of Australia won the women’s gold today with a back full full and a final score of 118.05, Kong Fonyu of China gets silver doing a back lay full full to a 84.58, and Hanna Hushkova takes home the bronze today from Deer Valley after her back lay full earned her an 82.65.
Christopher Lillis, the lone American male to advance into the top -12 men’s Final, failed to advance through to the top-six Super Final round, ending his day in 11th place with a back double full full full.
China swept the men’s Aerials podium with gold going to Wang Xindi and his back double full full full earning him a top score of 122.62, silver went to Yang Longxiao doing a back double full full full for a 112.67 and it was bronze at Deer Valley for Sun Jiaxu after he jumped a back double full full full for a 83.50 as they all head into the Olympics on their home ground.
This Thursday and Friday, Deer Valley will continue to host the Mogul Competition (Full Schedule Here).