March 9, 2007
MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, ITALY - (News Release) - Defending champion Nate Roberts (Park City, UT), returning to the hill where he won his first World Cup, collected the bronze medal Friday night in moguls - .02 away from silver - at the 2007 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships. Dave Babic (Washington, VT) was fifth while former Olympic medalist Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, UT) was fourth in the women's contest, leading three U.S. women into the top 10.
"I just wanted to ski my run. I trusted my skills, my coaches...and I just wanted to do what I know I can do," Roberts said. "This is awesome. I have great memories of this hill and to be on the podium again, in my second World Championships, is such a great feeling."
Canadian Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau won the gold medal with 27.17 points and Olympic and World Cup champion Dale Begg-Smith of Australia was silver medalist (26.65). Roberts finished at 26.63 with Babic fifth with 26.12. Kristi Richards edged her Canadian teammate Jennifer Heil with 25.37 points to 25.25 with Italy's Deborah Scanzio in third place.
Bahrke finished fourth at 24.86 with Shelly Robertson (Reno, NV) in sixth place (24.53) and World Cup newcomer Heather McPhie (Bozeman, MT) eighth (23.66).
Roberts, whose first World Cup victory came in a night competition Dec. 20, 2003 at Madonna - and whose second and third World Cup moguls wins came this season, qualified second behind Rousseau. Before the final run, he kept pressure at arm's length by reminding himself he only needed to ski as well as he's skied this season.
Poor training, regroup and...medal-winning run
The irony, he said, is that he struggled in training during the morning session before the afternoon qualifying run. The unseasonable warm weather created soft conditions but he regrouped and at night, the snow was a little more firm.
"This is over a little bit from the course I won on (in the '04 season) but it's on the same venue, and, like I said, I have such great memories here.
"I trained like crap this morning and I got a little down on myself, but I'm a competitor, and I love to compete, so I put on my game face and I got after it," Roberts said. "I just wanted to ski my run; that's what got me this far and it was all I needed to do, and hopefully I'd get rewarded for it. You gotta know what you need to do."
He skied next to last, then clicked on his backflip off the top jump and a backflip with an iron cross off the jump at the bottom.
Bahrke, 2002 Olympic silver medalist, '03 World Cup champion and duals bronze medalist, felt she was skiing well enough to the make the podium, but she had a little bobble in landing a heli (360-degree vertical rotation) on the top jump and that scuttled her medal chances.
Bahrke: No room for even small miscues with the women
"My top air ended too quickly. It put me in the back seat," she explained, "so I kinda 'wheelied' out of the top jump. But the rest was good, but the women are skiing at such a high level now and you can't have that one little mistake."
Snow conditions changed from daytime slush to sugar snow with ice underneath, she said. "It was a good course - they did a good job preparing, but it was different," Bahrke said. "It was tough to get in some good training, but the course shaped up tonight and was good skiing...
"Usually, I do so good under the lights and these were awesome, and it was fun to be up here, and to end my season on a positive note, but...well, maybe in two years.
I thought I could be on the podium that I would be on the podium, because I knew I could pull it all together," she said.
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=FS&event_id=21867.