Mt. Buller, Australia , Aug. 12--Olympic aerials champion Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT) held a narrow lead after the first jump Saturday and went on to capture the 11th World Cup victory of his career as the 2001 season opened under a hot sun at Mt. Buller Ski Resort.
Jerry Grossi (Park City, UT) - hot on Bergoust's trail each round - hung-up the best result of his career, finishing second for his first podium as U.S. aerialists took five of the top eight spots.
Britt Swartley (Blue Bell, PA) was fourth with two other Park City athletes - Joe Pack and Brian Currutt - fifth and eighth, respectively, in the pack of 25 men.
"Things have been a little tough. We haven't done a lot of training," U.S. Aerials Head CoachWayne Hilterbrand said, "but the boys out-jumped 'em. They jumped great. We're happy. The guys have been working hard and we thought they could have some good results; I really knew they'd shine through...."
Aussie favorite Jacqui Cooper, who opened last season with two wins at Mt. Buller as she rolled to her second women's World Cup championship, won again, this time with 181.66 points, and Veronika Bauer of Canada was runnerup. Brenda Petzold (Andover, MA) was ninth and Kelly Hilliman (Tonawanda, NY) finished 13th in the field of 22 women.
Bergoust and Grossi dueled through both rounds. Bergoust had a half-point advantage after their first jumps and was nearly flawless, receiving 129.94 for his second while Grossi almost matched him, getting 128.60. The winning score was 250.31 to 248.48 for Grossi.
"I don't think either Bergy or Jerry landed a jump in practice," Pack laughed, "but Bergy being Bergy, and Jerry being himself, they went right at it today. There was some fine jumping out there today, but they were awesome."