Caldwell Second in Yaroslavl
Ashley Caldwell led the Americans at the Jan. 16 FIS Aerials World Cup in Yaroslavl, Russia, with her first podium of the 2020-21 season, a second-place finish, marking her 16th career World Cup podium. Caldwell consistently stomped all of her jumps to her feet under the lights on the brand-new Yaroslavl course and fought through wind chills of up to negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit to perform a high flying and scoring full double full in the super final round. World Cup leader Australia’s Laura Peel claimed her second victory of the season and Russia’s Nikitina Liubov rounded out the women's podium in third.
"To be able to get on the podium is very gratifying," said Caldwell. "My body did well today. To get through a long day of training and put down some nice jumps is a testament to a lot of experience and our PT, Peter Toohey. I couldn't have done a better jump today."
The final rounds kicked off with a display of traditional Russian dance and fireworks to set the stage for an exciting night of competition. Three American women qualified to finals: Caldwell, Winter Vinecki and Kaila Kuhn. Kuhn performed a beautiful full full in the first finals round but was edged out of the super final by just one place and ended the night in seventh. Vinecki pulled out her new double full full for the super final round, and stomped it to her feet. Head Coach Vladimir (Vlad) Lebedev was celebrating from the knoll as Vinecki was all smiles in the finish area. She ended the night in fourth. Keep an eye out as Vinecki continues to improve that jump!
"It felt amazing to land my double-in in super finals!" said Vinecki. "I just missed the podium but am super excited to be right up there with the best in the world, including my teammate Ashley. I’m really looking forward to getting more chances to do this trick in the competitions to come to get on that podium!"
"I am extremely proud of Winter, she was just off the podium," said Caldwell of Vinecki's performance. "She's due for a podium. I look forward to that!"
Rounding out the U.S. women, Megan Nick was 13th, Megan Smallhouse 20th, and Dani Loeb 21st.
Eric Loughran and Justin Schoenefeld represented the U.S. in the finals. Loughran looked good in the air during his full double full full but didn’t quite stick the landing and placed eighth overall. Schoenefeld was the sole American to appear in the super final round and his double full full full landed him in fourth place.
"This site is challenging," commented Vlad. "The weather was super crazy, very windy and snowy. And SO cold. The team handled all of those challenges and competed well. I'm proud of Winter for landing her double in and it was amazing to have Ashley on the podium again. We have a long day ahead tomorrow but the team is excited to get back out there."
Russia continued its dominance of men’s aerials with Maxim Burov and Pavel Krotov taking first and second, respectively, on home snow. Switzerland’s Noe Roth came in third.
Quinn Dehlinger finished 14th.
"I'm going to continue to be safe, I always have big goals of big tricks and triples," said Caldwell on her mindset for the next competition and beyond. "Sometimes you have to assess the situation with your body and the site and make the best choices. I plan to continue to make the best choices. I really want to make the team event, it would be really fun to represent the USA. I would like to do well tomorrow for that first jump and hopefully compete with some of our men."
Up next athletes will take on the Mixed Team event on Sunday, Jan. 17. Mixed Team Aerials will make its Olympic debut in Beijing in 2022 and Sunday’s event is the first of this FIS World Cup season.
HOW TO WATCH
10:00 a.m. FIS Freestyle World Cup Men and Women's Aerials - LIVE, Yaroslavl, RUS, Streaming Peacock