Americans take first in three of four freestyle events |

Americans take first in three of four freestyle events

Special to the DailyToby Dawson

PARK CITY, Utah – Toby Dawson and Michelle Roark won in moguls to give U.S. skiers first place in three of four competitions Friday in the World Cup freestyle. The win qualified Dawson for the Olympics.Ryan St. Onge won the men’s aerials earlier Friday in the first day of competition at Deer Valley.Australia’s Lydia Ierodiaconou, who returned to the World Cup after tearing a knee ligament before the season, was the only non-American skier to win a gold in front of the U.S. home crowd.

Roark, a former figure skater who switched to skiing after skating became too expensive as a youngster, won the women’s event under the lights with 26.32 points, edging defending World Cup champion and current leader Jennifer Heil of Canada (25.96).In the men’s event, Dawson was nearly flawless and finished with a score of 27.34. Second place went to Janne Lahtela (26.48) of Finland, who won the 2002 Olympic title on the Deer Valley course with Australian Dale Begg-Smith in third place (26.33).American favorite Jeremy Bloom didn’t qualify for Friday’s moguls finals, which followed the first of two days of aerials.

St. Onge received 243.59 points for two quad-twisting triple jumps (four twists, three somersaults), getting his fourth World Cup win.”Even though I won today, I’m taking away things I want to fix before the Olympics,” said St. Onge, who already had qualified for his first Olympics by winning the U.S. Ski Team Olympic Trials Dec. 30 in his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colo.Joe Pack, the 2002 Olympic silver medalist, had a quad-twisting triple and triple-twisting double (three twists, two flips) to finish at 241.49. Dmitri Dashinski of Belarus grabbed third place.

Ierodiaconou tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee last summer on the second jump of her preseason at Lake Placid, N.Y. Doctors used a cadaver ligament to repair her knee and she got back to jumping in December.”I was just looking to have a good takeoff,” she said. “I’ve already qualified for the Olympics, so that wasn’t a concern and I could just focus on having a good jump. Yeah, I did – this is a nice surprise.”Vail Colorado

Support Local Journalism