Cabral meets Olympic criteria | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Cabral meets Olympic criteria

Tribune and USSA reports

DEER VALLEY, Utah – Travis Cabral of South Lake Tahoe did what he had to do to meet Olympic selection criteria. Now he has to survice a final weekend of qualifying to realize his dream of making the Winter Games.

Cabral finished fifth for the second time this season at the Chevrolet Freestyle International World Cup men’s moguls race Friday at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.

Unless somebody from the U.S. Ski Team below him – namely Nate Roberts, Dave Babic or Luke Westerlund – score podiums next weekend at Lake Placid, Cabral has the fourth-and-final men’s moguls spot.

“It gives me an Olympic spot as of now, but anything can happen at Lake Placid,” said Cabral of the final Olympic qualifying events on Friday and Sunday. “Consistency is the key to making it. All I need to do is to keep my consistency up and I should be fine.”

Toby Dawson of Vail, Colo, and Michelle Roark of Denver clinched Olympic Team berths as Americans won three of the events before 7,000-plus spectators at Deer Valley Resort.

Roark, a former figure skater, who turned to skiing after skating became too expensive as a youngster, won the women’s event under the lights with 26.32 points, edging defending World Cup champion and current leader Jennifer Heil of Canada (25.96).

Shannon Bahrke of Tahoe City scored her second straight fourth-place finish to position herself for her second straight Olympics. The 2002 silver medalist had a score of 23.69.

In the men’s contest, Dawson wowed the crowd and judges with nearly flawless and rocket-fast skiing to compile 27.34 points. Finland’s Janne Lahtela was runner-up on the course where he captured the 2002 Olympic title. His score was 26.48, with Australian Dale Begg-Smith in third place at 26.33. Canadian Alexandre Bilodeau was fourth at 26.23 and Cabral fifth with 26.08.

Roberts, who is battling Cabral for the final Olympic berth, was sixth, only .10 out of fifth.

Dawson won the qualifying run Thursday, which meant he was the last skier on course at the end of the Friday the 13th competitions. He paused, looked over the crowd to the horizon, as he always does before a run. And then he clinched his Olympic berth with a dynamic run.

“The problem with these two-day events is you have to get ready, compete, then take some time off, get al ready again and then compete again on the second day. It takes my body a long time to get warmed up.

“Having to go last, I was sitting in the starting gate, just listening to times and scores, times and scores. ‘Gosh, how am I gonna do this?’ I was getting a little nervous and I wanted to ski it as quickly as possible down the middle. And it all came together. ,” Dawson said.

Dawson further delighted the crowd when he crossed the finish line and turned around, skiing backwards to look up the course. However, he skied backwards too far and flipped over the padded fencing, dumping himself at the feet of the judges’ stand. I was face to face with the judges,” he laughed. Perhaps that clinched his high score? “I was embarrassed, he said, but I got a great score and won, so what can you do?”

Cabral thought he executed one of his best runs to date in the finals, but the subjective nature of the sport leads to unpredictable scoring.

“That run would have won any usual World Cup,” said Cabral, who was fourth in qualifying. “It’s kind of awkward how this one winded up. It’s a judged sport. Every competition is different. There are different judges and they look at different things.

“The best thing I can do is qualify the best I can, because it seems they are scoring higher as the last people go.”

Roark said her feelings about achieving part of her Olympic dream were “hard to express. I’ve wanted to do it since I was 5, and it’s been a really, really bumpy road – six knee surgeries, a rollercoaster ride. … I stuck with it for the ultimate goal. I can say it now – for a long time we weren’t allowed to say the O-word in my household, but I can say it now. I’m going to Olympics.”

Her top jump was a backflip and her bottom jump was a “Bronco,” a 360-degree rotation with a spread while backwards in the air. “I love to spin. I think it comes from my figure skating background,” she said.

Moguls Head Coach Donnie St. Pierre was pleased with his two newest Olympians, who join defending World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom and world champ Hannah Kearney (Norwich, VT) – who won the U.S. Ski Team Olympic Trials Dec. 30 in Steamboat Springs, Colo. – on the Olympic Team.

“I’m at the top of the course, so all I see are the blurs,” St. Pierre said. “I saw a lot of athletes putting down so much heart tonight, and, of course, it’s always exciting to watch when it’s an Olympic year and Olympic spots are on the line.

“It takes a lot of heart and focus to bring things back to your skills, not to get ahead of yourself and just do what you know, and I think these guys have done this tremendously.”

FREESTYLE WORLD CUP

Chevrolet Freestyle International

Deer Valley, UT – Jan. 13, 2006

Moguls (16 make finals)

Men

1. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo., 27.34 points

2. Janne Lahtela, Finland, 26.48

3. Dale Begg-Smith, Australia, 26.33

4. Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada, 26.23

5. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 26.08

6. Nate Roberts, Park City, Utah, 25.98

11. Dave Babic, Washington, Vt., 21.37

19. Tim Preston, Campton, N.H.

21. Michael Morse, Duxbury, Mass.

23. David Digravio, Farmington, Maine

33. Luke Westerlund, Breckenridge, Colo.

41. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, Colo.

Women

1. Michelle Roark, Denver, 26.32

2. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 25.96

3. Sara Kjellin, Sweden, 24.04

4. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, Calif., 23.69

5. Kristi Richards, Canada, 23.31

7. Eliza Outtrim, Hamden, Conn., 22.91

11. Emiko Torito, Denver, 18.74

18. Laurel Shanley, Squaw Valley, Calif.

19. Shelly Robertson, Reno, Nev.

25. Heather McPhie, Bozeman, Mont.

26. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, Mass.

30. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, N.Y.

31. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, Vt..

two top fives give me olympic spot as of now … two events at Lake placid, anything can happen.

Bloom, Dawson …

not all, no way, already filled the quota … by fifth on friday.

Babic,

that would have bene nice ..

I’m skiing awesome, it’s been real tough year. really, every compe is different, diff juge snad they look at diff thigns. cleanest skiing, clenaes air,s that’s all can do. the best thing I can do, qualifying best can, scoring higher as the last peope go.

That would win any usual world cup. it’s kind of awekard this one winded up. it’s judged sport, every sport is didfdtn. all I need to do is keep consistent up and I shoule be fine.

Friday and Sunday …

realy healthy, hanging out, resting up before travel day, weather back east I’m sure … I wouldnt’ count on that, they’l make sure they get those off.

in Utah … Deer Valley, hung out, watched aerials, did couple advertisment, back and fourth doing tons of stuff.

eveone skis so good, consistent is key to makig it.


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