U.S. Ski Team Takes 3 Aerials Podium
PARK CITY, UT (Jan. 8, 2015) – In her first win in four years, Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, VA) lit up the sky with a pair of triple flips, joining teammate Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) in the first 1-2 finish for the U.S. women in 26 years. Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT) notched his second podium of the season, finishing second to a massive 138.50 points set by China’s Guangpu Qi.
Caldwell, a two-time Olympian at just 21 years old, was beaming after finding her way to the top after an excruciating two-year battle back from knee injuries. She did it in style – the only woman in the field to throw two triple flips. McKinnon, meanwhile came in with a pair of very clean doubles to take the third podium of the season and her career, moving within two points of the World Cup aerials lead.
At one of the most popular venues in her sport, Caldwell took advantage of home snow advantage risking the higher degree of difficulty triple flips to build into her winning score. “This is the first time I’ve ever done lay double full full in contest and only the second time I’ve done full full full in contest, and the first time doing them together,” said Caldwell. “It’s really exciting for it to pay off.”
It was a pivotal win for Caldwell, who suffered several injuries in the lead-up to the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. It was her second career World Cup win.
Bohonnon, who was on the podium in China before Christmas, put down a 128.51 on his final jump that could easily have won had it not been for the astounding performance of Qi.
“We’ve been training for so long for this,” said Bohonnon. “We’ve got a really young team, but an incredibly talented team. To get three podiums in one night and do that in front of a hometown crowd is just unbelievable.”
All three athletes are products of the Team’s Elite Aerial Development Program, developed in the mid-2000s to introduce acrobatic athletes to freestyle aerials skiing. Caldwell was the first to breakthrough from the program, with Bohonnon and McKinnon each now with three career podiums.
The aerialists depart Friday for the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships in Kreischberg, Austria, with training beginning Monday. The World Cup will resume after the Championships with a pair of events at the Putnam Lake Placid Freestyle Cup in Lake Placid, NY Jan. 30-31. Moguls are on tap at the Visa Freestyle Interational Friday night at Deer Valley Resort. The event will be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra and televised live on Universal Sports Network. The aerials event will air Sunday, Jan. 11 at 1:00 p.m. on NBC.
- Ashley Caldwell and Kiley McKinnon combined to score the first 1-2 U.S. women’s aerials finish since 1989 when Melanie Palenek and Jodie Spiegel accomplished the rare feat in Lake Placid, NY and Are, Sweden.
- It was Caldwell’s first victory since winning in Lake Placid in January, 2011.
- McKinnon’s third season and career podium put her within two points of the World Cup aerials lead after three events.
- The USA packed eight men into the 12-skier finals – most ever.
Ashley Caldwell: 1. Full Full Full 2. Lay Double Full Full
Kiley McKinnon: 1. Full Full 2. Full Double Full
Mac Bohnnon: 1. Full Double Full Full 2. Full Full Full
I am so excited. It’s been a while. I took two years off for knee injuries. It’s really awesome to come back and be at the top again after those long years. And to be with Kiley is incredible.
This is the first time I’ve ever done lay double full full in contest and only the second time I’ve done full full full in contest, and the first time doing them together. It’s really exciting for it to pay off.
In training, I was hitting take offs and doing really nice jumps. I wasn’t quite landing the way I wanted to but I put them to my feet and skied them out well enough to take the win.
Aerials is really a mental game. That gave me a lot of time to figure out why I really do this sport and it’s because I want to do sick tricks and I want people to be like “Whoa, that was awesome!” So that’s what I’m here to do, and I’m the third girl ever to two triple twisting triples and I’m stoked about it.
We have sweet coaches who get the speed right and their killing it all the time. And it’s home field advantage. We’re just all so pumped to be together. We have a young team, sweet camaraderie and everyone’s just all pumped all the time.
I focused on doing what I know how to do and am really happy with my jumps. It’s great to be on the podium with Ashley. It’s so fun jumping with her and I’m really happy for her.