Xu Mengtao, of China, Takes the Gold in Ladies’s Aerials

Australia has a behavior of dominating freestyle snowboarding aerials, however China got here to Genting Snow Park on a bitingly chilly evening hoping to win medals for the house nation. And China delivered.

With the night temperature at minus-10 levels Fahrenheit, Xu Mengtao who received the gold medal, with a back-full-full-full effort executed to close perfection. Hanna Huskova, the defending gold medalist from Belarus, earned silver, and Megan Nick of the US obtained bronze.

Xu’s profitable trick introduced the few Chinese language followers within the grandstands to their ft and brought about them to cheer, breaking the pandemic-era decorum that asks followers to not yell. Her rating of 108.61 put her in first place.

That left Ashley Caldwell, of the US, leaping final. She did the identical trick, landed a bit on her bottom, and completed fourth. Afterward she swallowed Xu in an extended embrace, the winner overcome with tears. Xu then danced with the Chinese language flag draped over her shoulders.

Laura Peel of Australia, a two-time world champion and one of many favorites to medal, got here in fifth after a tough fall.

In aerials, opponents take turns dashing downhill to launch themselves off a near-vertical ramp often known as a kicker to carry out a litany of dizzying tips. They’re the kind of spinning acrobatics that viewers would possibly see off a diving board throughout the Summer time Olympics.

However the self-discipline is harmful sufficient that there are limits to what’s allowed. Athletes can carry out a most of three again flips, however can add as many twists as attainable. Peel is one who has managed 4 twists in competitors.

Flying isn’t the exhausting half; touchdown is. The touchdown slope is snow lined and steep, in order that athletes can, theoretically, glide away as soon as they land. And it’s lined in pine needles to assist them spot the bottom throughout all their rotations. Coaches stand close to the kicker screaming on the athletes spinning above them to both gradual their rotation or pace it up.

However crashes might be spectacular, and it isn’t unusual for even strong, ski-first landings to be so agency that opponents cough up blood.

On Monday evening, 12 ladies reached what is named Ultimate 1, and their better of two makes an attempt decided which six would advance to Ultimate 2.

These six took activates one all-or-nothing bounce to find out the medals.

Huskova took the early lead, and Nick trailed. Peel and Kong Fanyu, of China, took exhausting falls.

That gave Xu the stage to tug off the largest bounce of her life. And it gave Caldwell, a 28-year-old from Utah making her fourth Olympic look, an opportunity to get her first-ever particular person medal.

She led the U.S. crew to a combined crew gold medal final week, however in three earlier Olympic appearances, her finest end had been tenth, twice, in 2010 and 2014.

Having certified first for the six-woman ultimate, making certain her best-ever end, she landed on her again after her trick, making a swirl of snow within the chilly evening air, and popped again upright.

The scores quickly confirmed what everybody knew: Xu had received. Caldwell yelled “Olympic champion!” as she ran to embrace her rival.

“Taotao has been pushing triples for longer than I’ve, and I respect her wholeheartedly,” Caldwell mentioned, utilizing Xu’s nickname. “For her to win the gold medal in her personal nation is an unbelievable accomplishment and it introduced tears to my eyes simply as a lot as unhappiness did.”

“I respect what everybody does out right here,” she added. “I understand how exhausting that is. I face it day-after-day. Why shouldn’t I be excited for his or her success.” activities/olympics/womens-aerial-skiing.html Xu Mengtao, of China, Takes the Gold in Ladies’s Aerials

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