Freestyle

McKinnon Returns to the Podium

by
USSA
2017-02-03 23:06
 

PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 3, 2017) – The best aerialists in the world put on a fantastic show in front of thousands fan on Friday night at the Visa Freestyle International. Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) landed her first podium of the season, finishing second on her home turf and putting herself one step closer to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

With a bit of wind and constant snowfall, coaches had to work with the athletes to get the speeds just right so they could land their jumps. The U.S. coaches nailed it, advancing McKinnon, Elle Gaudette (Maple Grove, MN) and Madison Olsen (Park City, UT) to the finals. McKinnon’s full, full with a score of 79.83 advanced her to the super final. She then upped the degree of difficulty, landing a full, double full for a score of 95.17, just 0.35 out of first place.

“The conditions were tough tonight,” said McKinnon “They were ok during qualifications, but as soon as we started training for finals the snow was dumping and it was extremely hard to get speed. We didn’t get many jumps in, so I was just hoping that I was going to be able to pull it out for finals, and luckily I did. I have to thank my coaches for putting me in the right spot and having the right speed.”


Kiley McKinnon scopes out the landing of her jump in the final rounds of the Visa Freestyle International. (U.S. Ski Team - Steve Earl)

McKinnon, who was crowned U.S. champion last month in Lake Placid, NY, has been building over the past few events, becoming more and more confident with her jumping. Her second place finish will count towards qualification criteria for the 2018 Olympics, which are just over a year away.

“I was feeling good after nationals, where I landed my three jumps,” stated McKinnon. “I had a tough time earlier this season, but to be able to be here in Deer Valley with my friends and family and make it on the podium in an Olympic qualifying event is amazing and I couldn’t be more happy.”

Australia’s Lydia Lassila, who recently returned to competition after an extended absence, took the win for the women with a full, double full and a score of 95.52. China’s Xu Mengtao was third with a double full, full and a score of 92.35.

On the men’s side, Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT) was gunning for another podium finish on home soil alongside his teammates Eric Loughran (Pelham, NH), Alex Bowen (Springville, NY) and Nik Seemann (Winter Park, CO). Bohonnon and Loughran advanced to the super finals - with Bohonnon throwing a double full, full, full for a score of 114.48, just missing the podium with a fourth place finish.


Mac Bohonnon qualifies to finals with a double full, full, full. (U.S. Ski Team - Steve Earl)

“It would have been great to be on the podium, but I’m happy I was able to put down three solid jumps,” said Bohonnon. “The conditions were really tough out here tonight, but it was still a great event. Deer Valley never disappoints, and it’s great to compete in front of this crowd.”

China’s Qi Guangpu slayed his final jump, stomping a double full, full, full for a score of 128.96 to take the win. Belarus’ Stanislau Hladchenko was second and Russia’s Stanislav Nikitin third.

Friday night’s event was also an opportunity to recognize the 15th anniversary of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Various venues around Park City, including the White Owl aerial hill, continue to be used for national and international competitions, including the Visa Freestyle International and the upcoming 2019 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships.

“It was a fantastic competition tonight,” said 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who served as president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. “The snow made it a challenge for the athletes, but it was wonderful to watch. Our athletes competed at the top level, which is very exciting and very encouraging. It’s so wonderful that these venues are all being used in the sport today. It’s creating a legacy for young athletes to be able to use these venues and to participate in Olympics in the future.”

The U.S. aerialists will now move on to an Olympic test event at Phoenix Park in PyeongChang, South Korea on Feb. 10. The Visa Freestyle International concludes Saturday night with men’s and women’s dual moguls.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kiley McKinnon led the U.S. Ski Team at the Visa Freestyle International with a second place finish in aerials, her first podium of the season.
  • With the podium, McKinnon is one step closer to meeting qualification criteria for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
  • Mac Bohonnon was the top U.S. men’s finisher, landing just off the podium in fourth.
  • Other top finishers for the U.S. include Eric Loughran in sixth, Nik Seemann in 11th, Elle Gaudette in ninth and Madison Olsen in 10th.
  • The FIS Freestyle aerials World Cup moves on to PyeongChang, South Korea next week for an Olympic test event at Phoenix Park.
  • The Visa Freestyle International at Deer Valley Resort concludes Saturday with men’s and women’s dual moguls.

 

 

 

 

QUOTES

Kiley McKinnon
The conditions were tough tonight. They were ok during qualifications, but as soon as we started training for finals the snow was dumping and it was extremely hard to get speed. We didn’t get many jumps in, so I was just hoping that I was going to be able to pull it out for finals, and luckily I did. I have to thank my coaches for putting me in the right spot and having the right speed.

I was feeling good after nationals, where I landed my three jumps. I had a tough time earlier this season, but to be able to be here in Deer Valley with my friends and family and make it on the podium in an Olympic qualifying event is amazing and I couldn’t be more happy.

Mac Bohonnon
It would have been great to be on the podium, but I’m happy I was able to put down three solid jumps. The conditions were really tough out here tonight, but it was still a great event. Deer Valley never disappoints, and it’s great to compete in front of this crowd.

Mitt Romney, former President and CEO, Salt Lake Organizing Committee, 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
It was a fantastic competition tonight. The snow made it a challenge for the athletes, but it was wonderful to watch. Our athletes competed at the top level, which is very exciting and very encouraging. It’s so wonderful that these venues are all being used in the sport today. It’s creating a legacy for young athletes to be able to use these venues and to participate in Olympics in the future.

RESULTS
Men's Final Results
Women's Final Results
Men's World Cup Standings
Women's World Cup Standings

 

EVENT SCHEDULE (times MST)

Saturday, Feb. 4
4:55 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Dual Moguls Prelims
7:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Dual Moguls Finals

BROADCAST AND LIVE STREAMING (times EST)

Saturday, Feb. 4
9:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Dual Moguls Finals – nbcsports.com – LIVE STREAM
9:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Moguls – NBCSN and nbcsports.com
10:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Aerials – NBCSN

Sunday, Feb. 5
4:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Dual Moguls – NBC