LAKE PLACID, USA, 20 JAN 2013 – It was a huge weekend for China at the legendary Lake Placid stop on the FIS Freestyle World Cup aerials tour, with seven podiums and four wins divided amongst the nation's men and women over the course of two days at the New York state venue.
On Friday night under the lights at the Olympic Ski Jump Complex it was two familiar faces smiling from the top of the podium at awards time.
On the ladies' side, Mengtao Xu was able to continue her absolute early season dominance of the aerials circuit, winning her third straight competition of the season and fourth straight dating back to last season. Xu's perfect landing was the edge needed to hold off teammate Yu Yang, who might have stolen top spot had it not been for a slight check in the landing of her final jump. Emily Cook (USA) was able to make a mark for the host nation, scoring 3rd place and just narrowing averting a Chinese sweep of the podium by edging Xin Zhang.
For Friday night's men's competition, it was Xu's equally dominant counterpart on the men's side, Zongyang Jia, whose score of 129.86 was enough for the Chinese athlete to claim his second win of the season by just narrowly edging teammate Guangpu Qi's score of 129.41. Australia's David Morris was able to claim the first podium of his career with a 3rd place that, similarly to the 3rd place by American Cook, held off a Chinese sweep of the men's podium.
On Saturday it was more of the same for the powerful Chinese team, as they again claimed both the men's and ladies' competitions. There was, however, a surprise, as Xu was knocked from her usual place atop the heap by Friday's runner up, Yang. Yang essentially had the competition handed to her, as both Xu (who ended up in 3rd place) and Australia's Lydia Lassila (2nd) fell in the run-out after initially landing their final jumps. Yang's winning score of 86.65 to Lassila's 79.04 pretty clearly reflected the discrepancy.
In the men's competition, Jia made it a perfect two-for-two on the weekend and three-for-four on the season with his second win in as many days, making it look absolutely easy in the process. Dmitri Dashinski – the sole skier to upset Jia from the top of the podium so far this season – threw down a solid jump to take second place. Young Russian skier Petr Medulich was able to replicate his performance in Lake Placid one year ago by scoring 3rd place, with those two showings at the American venue being the first and second podiums of his career.
FULL LADIES RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE (FRI) and HERE (SAT)
FULL MEN'S RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE (FRI) and HERE (SAT)