Lemley Second and Giaccio Third in Ruka Moguls
The Stifel U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls athletes kicked off the 2023-24 World Cup season today in Ruka, Finland, with Liz Lemley and Olivia Giaccio going two-three on the podium. The American women also packed six into the top 10, and swept second through fifth place.
It was the fourth World Cup podium for both Lemley and Giaccio and a personal best result in moguls for Lemley, topping her previous best of third in Alpe d’Huez in 2022.
Ruka is a staple on the moguls circuit, held annually starting in 2011, and consistently provides great results for the Stifel U.S. Freestyle Team. Back in 2021, Giaccio earned her first World Cup win in Ruka in women’s moguls.
“For the first event of the year, my strategy was simply to have fun and put my best effort into executing my plan that my coaches and I set out to accomplish,” said Giaccio. “I wanted to go big on my jumps, nail my landings, and ski aggressively - and I was able to do that when it counted!”
It was an overall great day for the U.S women’s team, with six athletes making it to the final. Just off the podium, Hannah Soar in fourth, Jaelin Kauf in fifth, Tess Johnson in eighth and Alli Macuga in 10th. Kai Owens finished in 19th. Impressively, during a practice run on Friday, Macuga took a fall and fractured her hand, but still competed and earned a top 10.
It was Johnson’s first World Cup event back from back surgery this summer. Her eighth place finish is a testament to her dedication and strength.
“I’m so stoked on today! It was everything I could have hoped for with qualifying in fifth and competing finals with a bottom air cork. It makes me hungry for more, but I’m taking the day to celebrate how far I’ve come since back surgery in April,” said Johnson. “Also I’m so very proud of my teammates for skiing so well and inspiring me every day. It’s an honor to be a part of this team.”
On the men’s side, Dylan Walczyk finished in 13th, Cole McDonald in 17th, Landon Wendler in 19th, Dylan Marcellini in 25th and Nick Page in 37th.
Up next, the team will travel to Idre Fjäll, Sweden to compete in moguls and dual moguls December 7-9th.