LAKE PLACID, NY (Jan. 19 - News Release) - Canadian Ryan Blais won the first World Cup of his career Sunday, finishing less than a point ahead of Belarussian Dmitri Dashinski and fellow Canadian Jeff Bean with Jeret Peterson (Boise, ID) as the top U.S. aerialist in sixth place. Olympic medalist Nannan Xu of China took the women's World Cup lead by winning the women's event on the final day of the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National.
NBC will televise coverage next Sunday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m. EST.
Blais, who was hoping to qualify for Canada's team which will compete at the 2003 World Championships later this month at Utah's Deer Valley, had 242.77 points for his two jumps. Dashinski finished with 241.84 and Bean, the men's World Cup leader, had 241.80.
Peterson, who clinched a spot on the '02 Olympic Team a year ago by finishing fourth in the first of two aerials meets at Lake Placid, was sixth with 220.58 points and Brian Currutt (Park City, UT), nursing an injured right elbow, finished 10th at the MacKenzie-Intervale Olympic Jumping Complex.
But Olympic medalist Joe Pack (also Park City) and defending World Cup champion Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT) struggled with their landings for the third straight meet. Bergoust was 23rd and Pack 24th.
Xu won with 182.29 points with teammate Nina Li, second Friday in aerials, second again (179.69) and Alla Tsuper of Belarus, third Friday, third again. Kate Reed (Montrose, CO), who led the qualifying round, slapped back on her final jump and dropped to ninth with Kelly Hilliman (Tonawanda, NY) in 10th place.
"I don't think it's time to panic," Head Coach Jeff Wintersteen said. "The bottom line is the whole team doesn't suck and we're just got to work on a few things. We're going to be going over all kinds of options, starting immediately."
He said Peterson, who rejoined the World Cup tour a week ago at Mont Tremblant, Que., after taking classes at the University of Utah during the fall, "keeps getting better and better, and Kate's just got to learn how to close the deal when she leads going into finals. But she's also 18, so this is part of the learning curve."
The World Cup tour moves on to Fernie, BC, for aerials and dual moguls contests next weekend and then the World Championships beginning Jan. 28 at Deer Valley.
FIS FREESTYLE WORLD CUPSprint U.S. Freestyle Grand NationalMacKenzie-Intervale Olympic Jumping ComplexLake Placid, NY - Jan. 19Aerials (12 make finals)Men
1. Ryan Blais, Canada, 242.77 points
2. Dmitri Dashinski, Belarus, 241.84
3. Jeff Bean, Canada, 241.80
4. Ales Valenta, Czech Republic, 228.94
5. Dmitri Marustchak, Russia, 222.68
6. Jeret Peterson, Boide, ID, 220.58
10. Brian Currutt, Park City, UT, 188.05
21. Ryan St. Onge, Winter Park, CO, 95.76
23. Eric Bergoust, Missoula, MT, 92.13
24. Joe Pack, Park City, UT, 91.22
30. Matt Saunders, Littleton, CO, 76.86
1. Nannan Xu, China, 182.29
2. Nina Li, China, 179.69
3. Alla Tsuper, Belarus, 177.74
4. Deidra Dionne, Canada, 171.91
5. Liz Gardner, Australia, 169.01
9. Kate Reed, Montrose, CO, 157.23
10. Kelly Hilliman, Tonawanda, NY, 156.18
19. Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, SD, 61.74
World Cup Standings (Best 4 of 5 results)
1. Bean, 380 points
2. Steve Omischl, Canada, 332
3. Pack, 304
4. Christian Rijavec, Austria, 296
5. Alexei Grichin, Belarus, 272
9. Peterson, 252
12. St. Onge, 212
15. Bergoust, 200
22. Currutt, 148
28. Jerry Grossi, Park City, UT, 100
34. Saunders, 52
1. Xu, 360
2. Alisa Camplin, Australia, 356
3. Lydia Ierodiaconou, Australia, 344
4. Anna Zukal, Russia, 332 (ahead on tiebreaker)
5. Li, 332
12. Reed, 264
13. Lindsey, 224
16. Hilliman, 184