McKinnon Lands First World Cup Win
With just one skier advancing to the super finals, the U.S. aerials squad ended up with plenty to celebrate when Kiley McKinnon (Madison, Conn.) stomped her super final jump to take home her first career World Cup win in Moscow Saturday. McKinnon has now met objective Olympic selection criteria and is looking good to land a spot on the team headed to PyeongChang in just over a month.
Variable weather conditions made it difficult for athletes to dial in the speed for their jumps on the scaffolding site Saturday night. McKinnon’s first jump - a full, full - qualified her in the seventh position going into finals. She barely made it in to the super finals after scoring an 80.46 on the same trick in finals. But everything came together for McKinnon’s final jump, a triple-twisting double flip called a full, double full. The high degree of difficulty and McKinnon’s flawless execution scored her a 95.52 and the win.
"My strategy was to go out and have confidence in my jumping," said McKinnon. "I have been struggling with that recently and I wanted to prove to myself that I could put a solid jump down. The weather was pretty crazy today with rain and snow, but luckily that cleared for the final rounds. No matter if the weather is good or bad, I always know that my coaches are doing everything they can to dial in the speed for us and they nailed it tonight!
I have been dreaming of a World Cup win for a few years now and, although I have come close a couple times, I had never gotten there. To be able to do it during the Olympic season is really the icing on the cake!"
Belarus’s Aliaksandra Ramanouskaya and Russia’s Alexandra Orlova joined McKinnon on the podium in second and third. World Champion Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, Va.) competed a triple flip in qualifications, but was unable to land cleanly, finishing 13th and missing out on finals by one spot. Madison Olsen (Park City, Utah) was 20th and Morgan Northrop (Haymarket, Va.) 22nd.
On the men’s side, Nik Seemann (Winter Park, Colo.) was the lone U.S. man to advance into finals. He carried too much speed into his triple-twisting triple flip - a full, double full, full - slapping back on the landing and missing the super finals, finishing 10th. 2014 Olympic Champion Anon Kushnir of Belarus took the win, followed by Russia’s Ilia Burov and Stanislav Nikitin in second and third.
The U.S. Ski Team will be back on home soil next week when the FIS Freestyle World Cup tour makes a stop at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. The Visa Freestyle International will feature two single moguls competitions on January 10 and 11 followed by aerials on January 12.