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Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle Skiing

All eyes will be on the green and gold freestyle skiers at Bokwang Snow Park in February 2018, with Australia’s moguls skiers kicking off the campaign on the first day of competition at the 18,000 capacity venue.

Australia is aiming to have the largest contingent of freestyle skiers in the mogul discipline. With a number of emerging mogul skiers jostling for selection against Australia’s moguls veterans like Britt Cox and Matt Graham, there is sure to be a very strong team of Aussie skiers aiming for Olympic glory.

It will then be on to our high-flying Aerials skiers. In what is Australia’s most successful Winter Olympic sport, Australia will be pushing to have a team of five that will all be in the hunt for the medals including 2010 Olympic Champion Lydia Lassila.

The relatively new disciple of Ski Slopestyle, which made its Olympic debut at Sochi 2014, will run on days 8 and 9, with athletes judged on their ability to utilize rails, tables, boxes, walls, and jumps, in front of an energetic crowd.

Wrapping up the freestyle skiing spectacle at Bokwang will be the unpredictable Ski Cross, where similarly to its’ brother sport, Snowboard Cross, athletes will vie to be first to cross the line and claim Olympic gold. The French will be looking to clean sweep the men’s podium like they did at Sochi, while in the women’s event, the Canadians proved dominant in 2014 claiming the gold and silver medals.

Athletes to watch: One of Australia’s top medal contenders is dual Olympian and current World Champion Britt Cox. At 15 years-old, Cox was the youngest member of the Australian team at Vancouver in 2010 and placed 23rd on debut. After improving her Olympic standing to 5th at Sochi 2014, the now 22-year-old won the 2016/17 Women’s FIS Freestyle Skiing Crystal Globe as that athlete who had accumulated the most World Cup points in any of the freestyle skiing disciplines. After winning the World Championships in March, Cox cemented herself as the one to beat at PyeongChang 2018.

Looking to join Cox in South Korea include Sochi 2014 teammates Nicole Parks, Taylah O’Neill, Matt Graham and Brodie Summers. After Cox (5th), Graham was the top placed Australian mogul skier at Sochi 2014, finishing one place shy of the Super-Final in 7th place.

Up and coming mogul skiers looking to make their Olympic debuts at Bokwang Park include Sapporo 2017 Asian Winter Games competitor and closing ceremony flag bearer Jakara Anthony and Buenos-Aires born James Matheson who narrowly missed out on the 2014 team.

Australia will field a formidable line-up for the Aerials Skiing competitions in PyeongChang. One of the sport’s greatest ever talents, Lydia Lassila, returned to competition for the first time since Sochi last season and returned to the form that saw her win Olympic gold in 2010 before claiming bronze four years later.

Sochi 2014 Olympians Danielle Scott, Laura Peel and Samantha Wells will also all be well in contention for podium finishes in PyeongChang. Scott had another strong season and finished it off it stunning style as she claimed silver at the 2017 World Championships. 2015 World Champion Peel and Wells both claimed podium finishes in the 2016/17 World Cup season and will be looking to replicate that form as they build to a second Games appearance.

Australia’s likely sole male representative David Morris won a spectacular silver in Sochi in 2014 and after a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships he knows he has what it takes to perform on the biggest stage.

Russ Henshaw was Australia’s only ski slopestyle competitor in Russia, and he will be looking to qualify for his second Games experience at PyeongChang 2018 and improve upon his eighth place finish from Sochi. The former Alpine skier turned to freestyle skiing at the age of 15 before winning X Games silver and World Championship bronze in 2011.

Hoping to join Henshaw on the slopestyle course at Bokwang Park is youngster Ryley Lucas. The former mogul-skier-turned-slopestyle athlete made his international debut on the Nor-Am Cup circuit in 2015 before making his World Championships debut at Sierra Nevada in 2017 where he placed 39th.

Australia’s ski cross duo of Anton Grimus and Sami Kennedy-Sim will both look to make their second Olympic appearances, hoping to be the first ever Aussies on the ski cross podium. Grimus will aim improve on his 25th place finish at Sochi, after bouncing back from a debilitating knee injury in the 2016/2017 season, while Kennedy-Sim wrapped up her 2016/2017 season in 12th position on the FIS World rankings.

Qualification, Nomination & Selection

Moguls
Australia will be aiming to qualify the full contingent of females (4) and three (3) males in Mogul Skiing at PyeongChang 2018. Qualification will be based on achieving a minimum of 80.00 FIS points and having placed in the top 30 of a FIS Moguls qualification event, which will be finalised by 22 January 2018. For the full details on qualification 
click here>>>

If an athlete has qualified then they will be eligible to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. For the full details on nomination to the Australian Olympic Winter Team click here>>>

Aerials
Australia will be aiming to qualify the full contingent of females (4) and one (1) male in Aerial Skiing at PyeongChang 2018. Qualification will be based on achieving a minimum of 80.00 FIS points and having placed in the top 30 of a FIS Aerials qualification event, which will be finalised by 22 January 2018. For the full details on qualification 
click here>>>

If an athlete has qualified then they will be eligible to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. For the full details on nomination to the Australian Olympic Winter Team click here>>>

Ski Slopestyle
Australia will be aiming to qualify one (1) male in Ski Slopestyle at PyeongChang 2018. Qualification will be based on achieving a minimum of 50.00 FIS points and having placed in the top 30 of a FIS Ski Slopestyle qualification event, which will be finalised by 22 January 2018. For the full details on qualification 
click here>>>

If an athlete has qualified then they will be eligible to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. For the full details on nomination to the Australian Olympic Winter Team click here>>>

Ski Cross
Australia will be aiming to qualify one (1) male and one (1) female in Ski Cross at PyeongChang 2018. Qualification will be based on achieving a minimum of 80.00 FIS points and having placed in the top 30 of a FIS Ski Cross qualification event, which will be finalised by 22 January 2018. For the full details on qualification click here>>>

If an athlete has qualified then they will be eligible to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection. For the full details on nomination to the Australian Olympic Winter Team click here>>>

Ski Halfpipe
Australia is not anticipating to qualify any athletes in Ski Halfpipe for PyeongChang 2018, however for the full details on qualification click here>>>

Competition Format & Events

There are five freestyle skiing events on the Olympic programme for men and women.

Moguls
The mogul’s competition consists of a run down a 250m slope evenly covered with round bumps known as moguls. There are also two jumps to complete on the course. Competitors are judged by a panel of seven judges, with five assessing turns (worth up to 15 points or 50% of the total score) and two scoring the jumps, or ‘air’ (worth up to 7.5 points/25%). The remaining element of the score (also worth up to 7.5 points/25%) is determined by the speed of the run.

There are two qualification rounds deciding 20 finalists. In Qualification 1, the top 10 skiers will be seeded directly into the final. In Qualification 2, the remaining competitors will compete with the next top 10 skiers being seeded into the final to round out the 20 finalists.

There are three phases of finals, with all competitors starting in reverse order in each phase. The first final phase (F1) will have 20 competitors. The top 12 will progress to the second final phase (F2). From F2, the top 6 will progress to the third final phase (F3), also known as the Super-Final. From this last final, the top 3 competitors will win the medals.

Aerials
Aerial Skiing involves skiers performing various acrobatic and gymnastic moves in the air after elevating from a snow-packed kicker (ramp). There are different kickers for different jumps and skiers choose which ramp best suits their specific needs. Each jump receives a score out of 30 gained from a split points system which awards 20% for air, 50% for form and 30% for landing. The total is then multiplied by the jump’s degree of difficulty rating to produce the final score.

The aerials competition consists of qualification (2 jumps) and final (3 jumps) phases. There are 25 men and 25 women competitors. The top 6 competitors from Qualification Jump 1 advance directly to the final. The remaining 19 competitors perform a second jump. The top 6 from Qualification Jump 2 also advance to the final.

The 12 competitors in the final will run in reverse order of their qualification rank. The final is divided into three jumps, points are not carried forward. The top 8 competitors from Final 1 advance to Final 2. The top four competitors from Final 2 advance to Final 3 where the medals are decided. The ranking in the final is based on the scores from each jump. 

Ski Slopestyle
Slopestyle courses feature rails, jibs, hips and a variety of jumps allowing skiers to combine big air and technical tricks into one run. Competitors are scored in an overall impression judging format on amplitude, execution, difficulty of line, landing and use of the course.

There are two phases of the competition – qualification and final. Scores do not carry over from qualification to the final. In the qualification phase there are 30 men and 24 women. Competitors start in a random order, each completing 2 runs with the score from their best run deciding the ranking. Up to 24 men and 12 women can advance to the final where they each ski two runs. In each run, competitors are run in reverse order of their ranking.

Ski Cross
Similar to brother sport of snowboard course, ski cross features four athletes competing on a course filled with terrain structures such as banks, rollers, spines, and jumps, and the order decides their ranking as they reach the finish line.

Athletes will contest two qualification competitions to determine the seeding of the 32 women and men heading into the elimination rounds. From there athletes will race off, 4 on 4, with the fastest pair advancing to the quarter finals, semi-finals and then big (1st - 4th) and small (5th - 8th) finals.

Ski Halfpipe
One competitor at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, flips, twists and other manoeuvres on a halfpipe. With a full score of 1000, the athletes are judged on their take-offs, the height they reach above the top of the pipe, and difficulty of their manoeuvres.

There are two phases of the competition – qualification and final. Scores do not carry over from qualification to the final. In the qualification phase there are 30 men and 24 women. Competitors start in a random order, each completing 2 runs with the score from their best run deciding the ranking. 12 skiers advance to the final where they each ski two runs. In each run, competitors are run in reverse order of their ranking.

 

Australia and Olympic Freestyle Skiing

Australia has a strong history in freestyle skiing winning medals at Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010.

Women’s aerials have been the particular strength throughout this time. It began when Kirstie Marshall placed sixth in women’s aerials at Lillehammer 1994.

At Salt Lake City in 2002, Alisa Camplin from Melbourne scored a total of 193.47pts in the final to become the Olympic aerials champion and also Australia’s first skiing gold medallist. The Salt Lake Games also saw tragedy when, in the week before the competition, Jacqui Cooper shattered her knee in training. It also saw the arrival of a young Lydia Lassila (then Ierodiaconou) who placed eighth in the final.

Four years later in Torino, Camplin on the comeback from serious injury produced another sensational performance to take bronze. Cooper who had broken the world record in the preliminaries finished eighth and this time it was tragedy for Lassila, who shattered her knee in the preliminary rounds while in podium form.

Lassila made a truly fairytale comeback in Vancouver in 2010. Four years of hard work after the knee injury that ended her Torino campaign, she landed two outstanding jumps in heavy fog at the final on Cypress Mountain, to win with an Olympic record total score of 214.74. Jacqui Cooper finished in fifth place in her fifth Olympic Games.

Four years later and Lassila was on the podium again having won bronze but it was David Morris who secured Australia’s best result at Sochi 2014. With a knack for pulling out his best when it matters most, Morris landed his jump in the four-man final before both Chinese competitors couldn’t stick there’s to ensure Morris claimed the first men’s Aerials medal for Australia at an Olympic Games.

In the moguls, Australia has been strongly represented by the men. The four-time Olympian, Adrian Costa, placed 14th at both the Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994 Games. Nick Cleaver’s 11th place at Albertville was the best Aussie result until Dale Begg-Smith crushed the opposition at Torino to become Australia’s third Winter Olympic gold medallist. Begg-Smith, who suffered a serious knee injury in 2009, returned to his birth town of Vancouver to attempt to defend his title at the 2010 Games. Begg-Smith finished with a final score of 26.58 to snag the silver medal, just behind local hero Alexandre Bilodeau on a score of 26.75.

Australia is yet to have a female moguls Olympic medallist, but with the likes and experience of World Champion Britt Cox aiming for her third Games, and Nicole Parks and Taylah O’Neill vying to qualify for their second, 2018 could be the year.

Ski cross made its Olympic debut in Vancouver with a strong showing by Australian skiers. Scott Kneller placed seventh in the men’s event, and Jenny Owens and Katya Crema both progressed to the quarter-finals in the women’s.

Ski Slopestyle made its Olymic debut at Sochi 2014. 23-year-old Russ Henshaw was Australia’s only slopestyle athlete when the discipline made it’s debut on the Russian Slopes.

Although he entered the Games under an injury cloud, Henshaw easily qualified for the finals where he finished in eighth place with a score of 80.40

Pre-PyeongChang AUS Tally

3 Gold
2 Silver
2 Bronze

Detail

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