Canadian wins women’s moguls
SAUZE D’OULX, Italy ” It was a show of very tightly matched helicopters and back flips in the women’s Olympic moguls contest on Saturday, but Canada’s Jennifer Heil put together the winning run.
The podium seats were in constant transition, but Heil bumped Norwegian Kari Traa out of the gold medal spot, bumping her down to silver and shifting France’s Sandra Laoura into the bronze seat.
The 360, back flip air combination is what appeared to have impressed the judges the most, as Heil and Laoura threw down this mixture almost identically. Heil’s final score was 26.50 points, while Traa’s was 25.65 and Laoura’s was 25.37.
Traa went with two full spins and a helicopter on her first hit, then did the back flip.
“I have such an amazing team behind me,” Heil said. “It was such an honor to compete at this venue together with Kari and Sandra. Kari, she’s such a legend.”
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Traa referred to her qualification round as a “safe run” and said that she will quit competition at the end of this season and focus on clothing design.
The Americans were hoping for better with their Olympic showing.
While Shannon Bahrke put down a solid run, the only skier of the whole field to pull a D-spin (off-axis twist) and a back flip iron cross combination, she ended up in 10th place with 22.82 points.
The 2002 Olympic silver medalist from Reno, Nev., had a shaky opening run Saturday, qualifying 18th of 20, but thought more of her finals round performance. She was the third racer down the course in finals, and held the first-place spot for the preceding four competitors.
“I’m very excited to be here. Today it just wasn’t my day,” she said. “But 2002 was my day.”
Meanwhile, Bahrke’s U.S. Teammate Jillian Vogtli finished 11th, throwing a back flip with an iron cross followed by a 720 helicopter and Denver-Winter Park skier Michelle Roark was 18th with a back flip followed by a helicopter spread eagle.
Competitors said the course was challenging due to how closely the moguls were placed together. The biggest surprise of the day was that American Hannah Kearney, 2005 moguls champion, who earned her Olympic berth with a one-stop contest in Steamboat Springs in December, failed to qualify for finals.
“I was really fast, but the bumps were close together and I risked to blow up,” she said after finishing 22nd in the qualifying round. “I didn’t do the best jump of my life, nor the best run. It’s a weird experience watching my name dropping out.”