Kushnir Wins Deer Valley World Cup Aerials

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at FirstTracksOnline.com:

A crowd of around 5,000 gathered around Deer Valley’s White Owl ski run on Friday to watch the world’s best aerialists land their jumps during the Visa Freestyle International as the freestyle skiing World Cup stopped in Park City. The excitement in the air with the Olympic Games so near was palpable as each athlete attempted to close in on their team spots. In the men’s competition Anton Kushnir of Belarus won, followed by Guangpu Qi of China in second and Dmitri Dashinski, also of Belarus, in third.

Kushnir produced one of history’s highest-ever scores of 264.05, leaving Qi a distant second in 255.87, with Dashinski notching 252.69.

With only one more aerials competition to go before naming the 2010 Olympic Team, young Dylan Ferguson of Amesbury, Mass., notched his best World Cup finish to lead the U.S. Ski Team fliers in sixth. Ferguson felt closer to Vancouver as he pulled in a solid result.

“This is my best result so far. It feels really good right now… really good,” Ferguson said. “I’m really getting excited going into the Games. I’m getting some results so hopefully this will do it.”

The lanky athlete threw a double full, full, full, which is a quad twisting triple back flip, landing him in his place. As the crowd cheered Ferguson on, he said he was happy to have the competition in an exciting venue like Deer Valley.

“They fans are awesome they get us all excited,” Ferguson said. “Utah is awesome, we have the Utah Olympic Park here and it plays a big role in our training and having a World Cup in Deer Valley helps us out a lot.”

Ferguson was followed for the U.S. but Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, who attempted his famous “Hurricane” but missed the solid landing due to problems with his skis.

“I did the Hurricane. I felt great and I nailed my takeoff, saw everything on my landing and I have no clue why I fell. Maybe I need to get a new binding sponsor,” Peterson said. “I feel really confident. Everything went exactly how we had planned, other than my skis falling off. I’m happy with the way things have gone and you know my mental game is where I want it to be, my focus and everything that I need leading into Vancouver.”

Canadian aerialists Kyle Nissen and Warren Shouldice, both of Calgary, Alberta, took a big step closer to qualifying for the 2010 Olympics by placing fifth and eighth, respectively. Nissen took a hard fall in training that left him with a sore neck and back, but received physiotherapy between the qualifying round and the final. His fifth leaves him among the top 18 ranked positions among freestyle skiers vying for Canadian Olympic freestyle berths.

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