Gardner fourth as Lassila and Cooper miss finals
31 January 2010
Defending World Cup champion Lydia Lassila and five-time champion Jacqui Cooper have both missed out on finals action, but team-mate Liz Gardner has registered her best result in three years in an aerials event in Mont Gabriel, Canada.
Gardner finished in fourth place with a score of 160.78 points, after performing her first triple twisting somersault since the Torino 2006 Games.
In an impressive prelude to Vancouver 2010, six Chinese skiers made the ten-woman final, with three time world champion Li Nina going on to win the event with 200.57 points from compatriot Cheng Shuang (184.88 points).
Belarussian Assoli Slivets took the bronze with 181.08 points.
Lassila carried too much speed into her single twisting triple somersault in the qualifying round, crashing the landing to finish in 17th place.
AIS/VIS team-mate Jacqui Cooper had the opposite speed problem, losing points from the judges when she went in too slow and was forced to rush her double twisting double somersault, ending up in 14th position.
The fourth member of the Australian team, Bree Munro, made it through the elimination round, but missed the landing on both of her triple twisting doubles in the final, finishing ninth.
“I was way too big,” Lassila said.
“The wind seemed to pick up just before I went to jump, so we stepped up higher to get more speed, and I don’t know, it must have died off a bit as I jumped.”
“Oh, well, that’s aerials.”
Gardner was pleased with the result, but more delighted to be back performing her biggest jumps, even though she lost points for dragging her hand on landing.
“It was great to get back up there (on the result sheet) but even more importantly, great to be able to do the triple twisting double again, which I haven’t done since the Torino Olympics.”
“I’ve only done three now - I did two in training today and the third one was in the competition, so I haven’t done many.”
“It was so close (to a clean landing), but again I haven’t done many so I have to be happy with what I did.”
“It’s good to know I can still twist - and to come away with a good result is just a bonus on that.”
In the men’s event, Dave Morris finished in 12th position, his fourth top twelve result in the past five events.
Morris had landed his first quad twisting triple somersault in training a day earlier in a major confidence boost on the eve of the 2006 Games.
World Cup leader Anton Kushnir from Belarus confirmed his gold medal potential in Vancouver with an emphatic victory, scoring a massive 263.55 points to finish more than 26 points clear of silver medallist Qi Guangou of China.
Team Media Liaison in Mont Gabriel
Photo courtesy of Lauri Lassila