Women’s Aerials Final in Freestyle Skiing

In Freestyle Skiing, China’s Xu ends the long wait for aerials gold.

In a dramatic final of the freestyle skiing women’s aerials, China’s Xu Mengtao finally claimed her elusive Olympic gold medal on Monday when she triumphed on home snow, producing a spectacular jump as most of her main rivals faltered in ZHANGJIAKOU.

Xu, who is the Sochi silver medallist, and also a World Cup leader; ahead of defending champion, nailed a 108.61 effort to edge Hanna Huskova of Belarus for the United States, Megan Nick taking a surprise bronze.

In qualifying, Xu then had to wait as Ashley Caldwell, the most impressive performer, attempted to beat her score, to crash-land, among the Chinese supporters, only for the American and spark wild celebration.

In the event, it was the first victory of China in 1994 after five silver medals since it was added to the Games program.

Caldwell finished fourth, one place, and favorite Laura Peel ahead of world champion of Australia, who had a final to forget.

A gusting northerly wind brought the temperature down to -23 Celsius on a bitterly cold night and made jumping difficult for difficult triples, especially; as so many contenders were opting.

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