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Olympic medals awarded in women's ski aerials

Published On: Feb 14 2014 12:33:58 PM CST
Ashley Caldwell, aerials, Sochi Olympics

Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Alla Tsuper of Belarus won her first Olympic ski aerials gold in her fifth Olympic Games on Friday in Sochi.

China's Xu Mengtao won silver and Australia's Lydia Lassila, the defending gold-medalist in the event, took bronze.

Li Nina of China, the silver medalist in 2010, fell on her final jump and finished in fourth place.

The event features competitors skiing off a snow jump and executing multiple somersaults and twists while in the air. Skiers are judged off jump takeoff, jump form and landing, with a degree of difficulty factored in for a total score.

Six skiers advanced from each of two qualification rounds earlier Friday to create a 12-competitor field that then went through three final knockout rounds to determine the medals.

Emily Cook, a 36-year-old Massachusetts native, made it through the first final round, but was eliminated after the second, ultimately finishing eighth.

Cook is in her third Olympic Games after finishing 19th in 2006 and 11th in 2010. She missed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City after breaking both ankles on a jump two weeks before the games.

She also has nine career World Cup podiums, 44 World Cup top-10s and six U.S. championships. While she finished the 2012-13 World Cup season second in the standings for aerials, she fell to seventh this past season.

Ashley Caldwell, a 20-year-old from northern Virginia, finished with the best score in qualification with a 101.25, but stumbled on her landing in the first final and failed to advance. She ended up in 10th place overall to match her performance from the 2010 Olympics, when she was the youngest competitor in the event at age 16.

After suffering a torn ACL in her right knee in December 2011, Caldwell worked her way back only to tear the ACL in other other knee almost exactly a year later. She returned to competition in December 2013, finishing the past World Cup season just behind Cook in eighth place with one podium finish.


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