Owens sixth in worlds debut; Johnson finishes 10th in moguls
A good day for Eagle County in Kazakhstan
OK, Kai Owens meet the world. World, please meet Kai Owens.
Welcome to the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where Miss Owens, 16, of Avon, made a splash in her words debut, finishing sixth in Monday’s moguls competition, not shockingly won by France’s Perrine Laffont.
West Vail’s Tess Johnson finished 10th, so it was a great day for Eagle County in Kazakhstan. Paraphrasing a quote from Carol Johnson, Tess’ mother, “The year that worlds are mostly in Aspen, moguls and dual moguls (and aerials) are in Kazakhstan.” We share Carol’s sentiment regarding the logistics.
Both Owens and Johnson do it all over again on Tuesday morning in duals. The knockout rounds start at 2 a.m. on Peacock and/or Olympic Channel for the Owens and Johnson families, who are among the sleep deprived.
“Making super finals feels really cool, it boosts my confidence for sure,” said Owens via a U.S. Ski Team press release. “When I started up on World Cup, I tried hard not to compare myself to the other women. I want to see what I can do, results are kind of an afterthought and back up my plan and reassure me that I’m improving as an athlete. It is nice to have results and hang with everybody but I’m still just trying to go out there and be the best skier I can be.”
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Owens is off to a pretty good start. The super final, aka the final round of the top six skiers of the competition, did not go as planned for Owens, though it was notable.
The 16-year-old overdid her first of two airs, and that caused her to ski out during the main moguls portion of the course. Nonetheless, Owens kept skiing and popped a cork-7 mute for kicks and giggles, landing the trick off the second air.
Let’s be clear. Owens officially DNF’d and finished sixth, which is a terrific result. But no woman has landed a cork-7 mute in “elite” competition, according to the U.S. Ski Team. Just file that away for future comps.
“I was tired and bummed, but another rep is always good practice,” reflected Owens. “Judges are still looking and watching. I also was like ‘if I’m throwing, I’m throwing it no matter what’, so I decided to still go for it.”
Johnson skied clean but juxtaposed to the rest of the field, her run was not enough to pull through to the super final.
The good news for both Tess and Kai is that duals are Tuesday morning. Johnson is the defending bronze medalist at worlds from 2019 in Deer Valley, Utah.
Oh, by the way, in the last World Cup duals, held in Deer Valley in February, the American women swept the podium with Owens in first and Johnson in third.
Prepare the coffee, people.