Freestyle

Aerialists Launch World Cup Season in Beijing

by
Caitlin Furin
2015-12-17 13:13
 

BEIJING, China (Dec. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Freestyle Aerials Ski Team will kick off its World Cup season this weekend in Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest. Athletes will compete in an individual competition on Dec. 19 with a team event on Dec. 20. Eight athletes, including 2015 World Cup titlists Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT) and Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT), will jump for the U.S.

Beijing, which was selected as the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games back in July, has been a stop on the World Cup tour for three seasons. Snow and scaffolding are brought in to the Bird’s Nest to create the jump site, putting athletes 200 feet up in the air before they even jump. Variation between sites is part of the sport, but the atmosphere and setup in Beijing in truly unique.

Athletes View

Athlete's view from the top of the Bird's Nest. (FIS)

“The site in Beijing is definitely one of the more difficult sites we encounter on the tour,” said Bohonnon. “It forces me to rely on the routines I've taught myself over the years, but it's really just another day of jumping. Of course I'd like to be at the top of the podium at this event, just like every other event I compete in, but I'm more focused on improving my jumping from last season.”

Consistency and improvement will be key focuses for many of the U.S. athletes this season, including Madison Olsen (Park City, UT) who, after injuring her foot, is returning to the World Cup for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

“I am taking this year more as a building year leading into the upcoming seasons,” stated Olsen. “Jumping in the Birds Nest is an amazing experience and it’s an awesome start to the World Cup tour. I learned a lot about myself as an athlete going through my injury last year and I am looking forward to overcoming that and benefitting from my new drive and love for the sport.”

Kiley and Mac

Mac Bohonnon and Kiley McKinnon outside the Bird's Nest Stadium. (Instagram)

Saturday’s individual competition will begin at 2:40 p.m. Beijing time with qualifications followed by finals at 7 p.m. Sunday’s team event kicks off at 2:10 p.m.

Finals for both competitions will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The U.S. Freestyle Aerials Ski Team will return to competition Dec. 19-20th at the World Cup opener in Beijing, China.
  • Eight athletes will compete for the U.S., including 2015 World Cup titlists Mac Bohonnon and Kiley McKinnon.
  • Both Bohonnon and McKinnon earned podium spots last season in Beijing, with McKinnon finishing second and third in the individual and team competitions.
  • Finals for both competitions will be streamed at 6 a.m. (EST) on NBC Sports Live Extra.

 

QUOTES

Mac Bohonnon
The site in Beijing is definitely one of the more difficult sites we encounter on the tour. It forces me to rely on the routines I've taught myself over the years, but it's really just another day of jumping. Of course I'd like to be at the top of the podium at this event, just like every other event I compete in, but I'm more focused on improving my jumping from last season. I'm incredibly excited to get the ball rolling here in Beijing. Our team has been chomping at the bit to get back on the road and we couldn't be more excited to finally be back. 

Madison Olsen
My goal for this season is to be as consistent as possible. I am taking this year more as a building year leading into the upcoming seasons. I learned a lot about myself as an athlete going through my injury last year and I am looking forward to overcoming that and benefitting from my new drive and love for the sport. I am so grateful to be back thanks to all of my coaches, athletic trainers, family and friends.

Jumping in the Bird’s Nest is an amazing experience. I competed in this event two years ago and it was an awesome start to the World Cup tour. There is a feeling of greatness from the Summer Olympics within the Bird’s Nest, as well as excitement for the competitions leading up to the next Olympics that gets me ready to perform the best that I can along side my team and the rest of the aerialists from around the world. 

U.S. Freestyle Aerials Team Starters – Beijing

Men
Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT; Stratton Mountain Freestyle)
Alex Bowen (Springville, NY; Buffalo Ski Club)
Jonathon Lillis (Rochester, NY; Bristol Mountain Freestyle Team)
Eric Loughran (Pelham, NH; Loon Mountain Freestyle Team)

Women
Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, VA; Elite Aerial Development Program)
Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT; Elite Aerial Development Program)
Madison Olsen (Park City, UT; Fly Freestyle)

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