Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) grabbed a World Championships silver medal in Kreischberg, Austria. (Getty Images-Lars Baron)
KREISCHBERG, Austria (Jan. 15, 2015) - Less than a month after scoring her first World Cup podium in Beijing, Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) found herself with a World Championships silver medal in Kreischberg, Austria. McKinnon joined teammate Alex Bowen (Springville, NY) as the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team swept silver—the Team's first medals since 2009.
Australia’s Laura Peel took gold while China’s Mengtau Xu won bronze.
McKinnon stayed true to her lean and clean style, advancing systematically through the rounds. Her silver medal jump was a full, double full—two flips with a twist on the second. While her degree of difficulty wasn’t the highest of the day, she skied each jump cleanly and came out with a medal.
“This is amazing,” she said in the finish. “I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go because I thought I would have to throw a new trick. But I was able to make it to the super-final without it.”
McKinnon stands on the podium with Peel and Xu at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships. (Getty Images-Agence Zoom/Stanko Gruden)
With a strong qualifying effort on Wednesday, McKinnon gained an advantage in being able to jump late in the first round. "Kiley’s been jumping great all week," said aerials head coach Todd Ossian. "But there’s a lot of strategy in this new format. Fortunately Kiley qualified high and it put her in a position where she could watch other jumpers and see what the scores were."
McKinnon took advantage of that strategy in the second of three rounds, going with her lowest degree of difficulty trick—a lay, full—and came out fifth in the semi-final with six advancing to the super-final. Her clean full, double full put her into the early lead until Peel matched her trick with a double full, full—edging into the lead by .35. Xu went for a triple and touched down, dropping her into third. Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, VA) also went with a triple, but failed to land cleanly and finished just out of the medals.
Moguls get underway this weekend at World Championships. Aerialists are back in action at the Putnam Lake Placid Freestyle Cup Jan. 30-31.
Kiley McKinnon’s silver was the first for a U.S. women’s aerialist since Nikki Stone won bronze in 1999 at Meiringen-Hasliberg, Switzerland.
A native of Madison, CT, McKinnon got her start on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Elite Aerial Development Program in Lake Placid, NY, and is a graduate of the USSA TEAM Academy in Park City, moving on to Westminster College in Salt Lake City as a part of the Team's Westminster partnership.
McKinnon had breakthrough results in Beijing a month ago, taking second and third. She was second in Deer Valley last weekend to teammate Ashley Caldwell, who finished fourth.
Just two points out of the World Cup lead, McKinnon will look to build on her silver medal when the World Cup tour resumes Jan. 30-31 with the Putnam Lake Placid Freestyle Cup.
Universal Sports Network will air coverage at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. EST Thursday night. All events are being streamed live at universalsports.com.
QUOTES Kiley McKinnon This is amazing. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go because I thought I would have to throw a new trick, but I was able to make it to the super final without it.
The whole competition has been great. The jumps were great, the air site was awesome, and the crowd was great. Everything about it was just perfect.
This is definitely the biggest success in my career. I wasn’t expecting to do this well, so I’m really happy with how it went and I’m really glad that everyone worked so hard to put on such a great event.
Todd Ossian, Aerials Head Coach
Kiley’s been jumping great all week. But there’s a lot of strategy in this new format. Fortunately Kiley qualified high and put her in a position where she could watch other jumpers and see what the scores were.
She was able to do a lay, full—the easiest trick she has—in the second round knowing that if she did a decent jump, she would be able to advance if she landed.
She’s done amazing with full, double full this year so she was super confident with that.