February 11, 2006
SAUZE d'OULX, Italy (USST Press Release)—Canadian Jennifer Heil out-skied defending Olympic gold medalist Kari Traa of Norway to win gold in the Olympic Women's Moguls finals Saturday night in Sauze d'Oulx. The top U.S. finisher was Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) in 10th with Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY) just behind in 11th.
Heil ripped up the bumps on her run and took gold with a score of 26.50. Traa followed with a 25.65 and Sandra Laoura of France was third with a score of 25.37.
Bahrke's run featured a D spin off the first jump and a back flip cross with a stomped landing on the second.
"To make this team of four is what dreams are made of," said Bahrke. "I looked back (from the start) and saw the full moon. I looked down and saw my family, and just went for it. It's what I had to do."
Bahrke won a silver medal in moguls at the 2002 Olympics in Utah.
"I am very excited to be here, today it just wasn't my day," said Bahrke. "But, 2002 was my day."
Vogtli started out with a backflip cross and then threw a solid corked 720 on her second jump.
"I got to do my off-axis 720," said Vogtli. "I didn't want to stick to my same tricks."
Roark was fourth in the afternoon qualifiers. Bahrke was 18th, Vogtli was 20th and Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) was 22nd. The top-20 skiers from qualifications advanced to the finals under the lights.
Roark did a backflip on the first kicker and a heli spread on the second.
"I really went for it, but I didn't have it," said Roark, competing in her first Olympics. "I was long with the landing path."
This is the first Olympics in which inverted aerials (skier's feet above their head) have been allowed. Backflips are the norm now, but a few mogul skiers are actually throwing front flips as well.
The men's moguls event takes place Feb. 15. Competing for the U.S. will be Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, CO), Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, CA), Toby Dawson (Vail, CO), Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO).
XX OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Sauze d'Oulx, ITA - Feb. 11, 2006
Women's Moguls Finals
1. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 26.50
2. Kari Traa, Norway, 25.65
3. Sandra Laoura, France, 25.37
4. Sara Kjellin, Sweden, 24.74
5. Aiko Uemura, Japan, 24.01
--10. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 22.82
11. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y., 22.72
18. Michelle Roark, Winter Park, Colo., 20.04
--Did not qualify for finals:
Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt. (22nd in qualifications, 20.80)