PARK CITY, Utah (April 19) - The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team gave itself some solid momentum heading into the Olympic winter as moguls and aerials skiers came through the 2005 season with three World Cup titles, the Nations' Cup for the first time in three seasons and five medals at the World Championships in Ruka, Finland - including the men's and women's moguls gold medals.
Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, CO) caught fire in late January and tore through the second half of the World Cup moguls schedule, becoming the first man to win six consecutive moguls contests in one season as he roared to his second World Cup moguls crown. Bloom also led the World Cup overall calculation, which measures an athlete's performance in each event. He closed the season by taking the bronze medal in dual moguls at Worlds.
Nate Roberts (Park City, UT), who was one of five other moguls winners on the U.S. Ski Team, and Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) - in her first full season out of high school - made it a gold-medal sweep for the USA in moguls at Worlds. That's the first time U.S. skiers have accomplished that feat. A day later, Toby Dawson (Vail, CO) cruised to the dual moguls gold medal.
In addition to Bloom's overpowering performances, the Team got World Cup wins from Roberts and Dawson plus Olympic medalist Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO), Michelle Roark (Denver) and Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY). In the standings, there were five American men in the top seven - Bloom (1), Roberts (3), Mayer (5), Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, CA) and Dawson (7).
While Bloom kept things under control on the ground, Jeret "Speedy" Peterson (Boise, ID) conquered the air, winning his first three World Cup aerials events and led a revival by the U.S. aerials program en route to the World Cup title, the first title by an American since Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT) in 2002. Following his lead, Ryan St. Onge (Steamboat Springs, CO) collected his first two World Cup victories.
Peterson led St. Onge (No. 6) and Olympic medalist Joe Pack (Park City, UT - No. 9) into the top 10 in aerials standings, the first time that's happened since 2001.
Also at Worlds, Kristi Leskinen (Uniontown, PA) was silver medalist in the first halfpipe competition at Worlds.