Ryan St. Onge wins aerials at World Freestyle Championships
INAWASHIRO, Japan ” Ryan St. Onge of Winter Park, Colo., put down two of his best jumps this season Wednesday in Japan to win gold in aerials at the 2009 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships.
“I came out today and I did two nice jumps. One of them was one of the nicest ones I have ever done in my life. Right there, I am very happy and incredibly excited for today,” St. Onge said. “It’s nice to know that things are going well and it’s nice to be able to enjoy it ” not just the winning, but to be able to do the jumps that I want to do, compete the way I want to compete and to be able to savor that.”
St. Onge threw a full, double full, full, followed by a double full, full, full to win the World’s gold.
“All I think about is his last jump and how perfect it was. It was just amazing,” U.S. Ski Team aerials head coach Matt Christensen said. “He’s been more focused on doing perfect jumps rather than looking at the results. That’s what we as a team have been focused on. The results come when those results happen.”
According to St. Onge, who is still waiting for the excitement to fully sink in, he knew if he was consistent, things would go his way.
“This is huge. I don’t think it has quite hit me yet, but I had a lot of fun today,” St. Onge said. “The last two days were some of my favorite days of jumping and I knew that if I landed two jumps, things would go ok.”
St. Onge’s win marks the first men’s aerials gold for a U.S. athlete since Eric Bergoust won in 1999. As a young athlete who looked up to Bergoust, St. Onge is happy to be able to share an accomplishment with his hero.
“Eric Bergoust is my idol and he has been ever since I’ve been jumping,” St. Onge said. “Any time I can reach a mile marker in any way that he has, it’s an extreme flattery to me, and I just hope that there are more like this.”
St. Onge was followed for the U.S. men by Dylan Ferguson (Amesbury, Mass.) who, though making only the second Worlds appearance of his young career, finished seventh.
“This is his first time in the finals at a World Championships, he’s a new guy and he doesn’t have the degree of difficulty that everyone else has,” Christensen said. “But he did this one quad twisting triple, and then a triple twisting triple, and that one was by far one of the best and biggest of its kind that I’ve seen in my life. It just goes to show you the depth we have on our team.”
Leading the way for the U.S. women was Emily Cook (Belmont, Mass.), who finished in fourth. Cook set the stage for two other U.S. women to finish in the top 10 with Jana Lindsey (Black Hawk, S.D.) finishing fifth and Lacy Schnoor (Draper, Utah) finishing seventh.
“Lacy Schnoor competed her first full double full in competition, she’s only done four of them now and she stuck it, which is awesome. Jana had her first time landing a double full, full in competition. This is a new jump for her this year. And then Emily, she just jumped so well,” Christensen said.
“It was really good to have all the women land all of their jumps. To have all three of them in the top 10 for World Championships is amazing. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
For Christensen, the worlds results are an indicator that the team is on the right track.
“It’s just awesome. Our team is finally starting to peak at the big events, and St. Onge just showed that. He followed the game plan and did it right,” Christensen said.
The 2009 FIS Freestyle Ski World Championships continue Thursday with men’s and women’s halfpipe.
2009 FIS FREESTYLE SKI WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Inawashiro, Japan
1. Ryan St. Onge, Winter Park, Colo., 254.66
2. Steve Omischl, Canada, 252.07
3. Warren Shouldice, Canada, 240.14
4. Renato Ulrich, Switzerland, 232.29
5. Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine, 2228.56
Other U.S. results
7. Dylan Ferguson, Amesbury, Mass., 217.97
8. Jeret Peterson, Boise, Idaho, 212.67
(top 12 qualify)
17. Scotty Bahrke, Tahoe City, 194.12
1. Nina Li, China, 203.21
2. Mengtao Xu, China, 197.04
3. Jacqui Cooper, Australia, 194.32
4. Emily Cook, Belmont, Mass., 175.72
5. Jana Lindsey, Black Hawk, S.D., 168.66