Moseley bumps, jumps to Chevy win
Since winning the gold medal last year in Nagano, Japan, bump skier Jonny Moseley realizes second place will no longer cut it.
The 23-year-old Moseley didn’t disappoint the familiar California faces or give his critics any ammunitiion in winning his debut in the Bumps and Jumps Friday at Heavenly Ski Resort.
Moseley, who skipped the entire 1999 World Cup circuit, unanimously defeated world champion Johann Gregorie in the finals to win the $6,000 first prize and unlocked the door to a new Chevy Blazer for winning the three-event series overall title.
“I guess I surprised myself that I stepped up. I’ve done it before, but I’ve had a little lack of confidence lately because I haven’t competed in a few weeks. Normally, I’m used to skiing week to week,” Moseley said. “Usually you take a whole year and by spring you’re set. Your body never gets sore. And I basically came out (last) Monday and started training and I got pretty sore pretty quickly.
“I didn’t have the confidence I usually have, but I knew I could do it.”
Living up to the expectations his golden heli-mute grab run created in Nagano has made Moseley more selective in his competitions.
“I’ll always have the most confidence now because I won the Olympics, but it’s gnarly now. It’s so tough,” he said. “If I lose, it’s an immediate, ‘What’s wrong with Jonny? Or it’s this or that.’
“Everyone really does go for the underdog in a lot of situations, and that’s why sometimes I don’t enter it. If I’m not ready for the competition, it’s not worth taking the grief from the public and even the press.
“I’ve never been that kind of person to shy away from anything because I didn’t think I could win it, but I understand when you’re in this position and everyone is looking at you to always win and always be on, I just have to play things according to how I feel, and so far it seems to be paying off.”
In a competitive sport where the winners and losers exchange high fives and hugs, Moseley did everything to keep his made-for-Hollywood image rolling.
He flashed his signature smile. He signed autographs and took pictures with the next generation of skiers. He threw his gloves into the crowd while posing for pictures on the podium afterward.
Only 30 other skiers, including Lake Tahoe’s Jarrod Semmens, Travis Woodcock, Todd Disbrow and Ryan Hickey, bothered to test their turn, air and speed skills against the golden boy. Moseley, a pacesetter during qualifying, was granted a bye into the round 16, much to the delight of his competitors.
“It’s kind of his show, you know? He’s done a lot for the sport,” said Chuck Loeffler of Telluride, Colo., who finished eighth.
Moseley easily advanced to the semifinals, blitzing fellow Americans Mark Kendrick and Todd Schirman. The latter win in the quarterfinals turned routine when Schirman fell near the top of the course.
“That was easy. I thought that would happen to me,” Moseley was overheard saying in the finishing corral.
However, Alex Wilson, who won his first World Cup at Heavenly in January, gave Moseley the run for first-prize money in the semifinals, beating him across the finish line.
In fact, judging from a smattering of spectator groans over Moseley’s 4-1 verdict, Wilson was “robbed.” But Moseley said their time differential coming out of the starting gate fooled spectators.
“It’s a tough sequence at the start. It goes, ‘Red course, ready? Blue course, ready? Skiers ready?’ Then there’s a pause anywhere from one to five seconds and he says, ‘Go.’
“Alex nailed it right on and so it doesn’t matter who gets out first because they’re both timed runs. But visually it looks like you’re behind because that guy’s out in front. I had to chase him down, but my time was probably faster than his, the way it worked.
“I think I skied a great run, but visually it looked like I was behind.”
Wilson was more upset with losing his third-place consolation race with Canadian Trennan Paynter.
“I really thought I had it. I thought I was better than him in speed, airs and turns. I really would have loved to have gotten third, but oh, well,” said Wilson, who settled for a fourth-place check of $1,500.
The finals brought out the best in Moseley as he nailed his patented heli-mute grab and beat Gregoire across the finish line.
“When I started pushing my speed that’s when I start competing better. Like that last one, I just freaking punched it and went as big as I could go,” Moseley said.
“I was nailing my jumps. I was surprised because that’s what happens to me when I don’t compete a lot. I miss my takeoffs because I’m not as aggressive.”
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