Saturday, August 28, 2010

Freestyle Ski Cross Junior Champions Crowned

The action was fast and furious in today’s freestyle ski cross at Cardrona Alpine Resort in the 2010 FIS Junior World Championships with Switzerland and Norway taking out the honours.
The battle in the women’s final was fierce with Fanny Smith (SUI, picture attached) demonstrating how she has earned her top five ranking. After a bad start, she soon took the lead with Katrin Ofner (AUT) hot on her heals, a mistake on the second to last jump saw her lose her lead with Ofner taking full opportunity. However Smith’s experience kicked in and she reined in Ofner, taking a smart line on the last berm putting her across the finish line in first place. Meanwhile the battle for second and third was taking place behind her with Ofner just taking silver ahead of Yulia Livinskaya (RUS) and Violetta Kovalskaya (RUS) came in fourth. "It was a great race and very tough", said Smith. "I didn’t start as well as I could have but I came here to win and I knew that I must win so I did everything I could and it worked!".
The men’s race was equally competitive with Norwegian Didrik Bastian Juell taking the title after qualifying in third. After a physical top third of the course where he worked his way up from fourth to first, his team mate, Morten Ring Christensen and Georgy Kornilov (RUS) were always close behind. By the second half of the course he had extended his lead slightly to give him a comfortable finish and the world championship title. Anton Grimus of Australia took fourth. "My day didn’t start out as well as it could have and that’s why I’m so surprised to have won", said Juell. "But I got a few good starts in the heats which helps a lot. In the final, there was a bit of contact at the start but I came out of that OK and for the rest of the final I kept waiting for someone to overtake me but they never did! It’s amazing and I never expected this – it’s quite a shock!".
The course was adapted slightly from last Sunday’s snowboard cross taking into account the skiers were travelling at higher speeds. The angles were decreased angles on the take-offs as so the skiers flew longer rather than higher. Joe Fitzgerald, FIS Freestyle Coordinator, said the course was an excellent world championship course. "It’s very nice, smooth, exciting course and it was noted by one of the Olympic skiers that is very similar to the Olympic course with the banks and flow".

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