Sans South Shore skiers, U.S. Freestyle can’t hold off Finns |

Sans South Shore skiers, U.S. Freestyle can’t hold off Finns

American Ann Battelle and Pierre Alexander Rousseau of Canada captured dual golds in dual moguls in the inaugural Winter Goodwill Games Sunday at Whiteface Mountain, near Lake Placid, N.Y.

American Ryan Riley, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Aiko Uemura of Japan came in second with Sami Mustonen of Finland and Kari Traa of Norway rounding out the podium with a third-place finish.

Battelle completed a double twister spread eagle for her first jump and fell slightly behind Uemura on the course, but after completing her double daffy on the bottom, she raced to the finish area, beating her opponent and receiving the higher score from the judges.

Rousseau has been on the World Cup circuit for three years. He was up against tough competition as he beat Finland’s Janne Lahtela – tops on the Heavenly Ski Resort podium a month ago in the World Cup – in the quarterfinals, and fellow Finn Sami Mustonen – first at Heavenly Feb. 12 at the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bumps & Jumps moguls competition – in the semifinals. Both Finns are leading in the World Cup podium count this season and Lahtela won the singles event Saturday at Whiteface.

There were several incredible spills on the large jumps and steep course. In the first round, Evan Dybvig (Tunbridge, Vt.) caught monster air off the second jump but fell on his face, stopping the competition as he gathered his equipment and applied pressure to his bloody nose. Dybvig finished ninth.

Sunday’s snowboard cross at Whiteface Mountain, the final snowboard event of the inaugural Winter Goodwill Games, turned out to be a cross between a war movie and a soap opera.

Canadians Scott Gaffney and Candice Drouin came out on top as the victors. U.S. Snowboard Team member Seth Wescott (Farmington, Maine) came over the final jump on the course and busted a huge method air before crossing the finish line first in the men’s finals. Wescott was celebrating his victory until the public address announcer rattled off

the dreaded words: “There is a protest on the course.”

Ryan Neptune (Boise, Idaho), the 1999 U.S. snowboard cross champion, caught the nose of his board under the start gate in the finals, sending him head-over-heels into the snow while all of the other riders were off towards the finish line. Neptune filed a protest with officials and decided to rerun the race.

Wescott ended up coming in fourth and Neptune finished fifth. Gaffney led the entire race and was followed by teammate Mathieu Morency and Italian Arthur Hackhofer.

U.S. Team rider Ricky Bower (Park City, Utah) came in sixth behind Neptune in the finals.

The women’s field filtered down to just six entrants after injuries and pullouts took their toll. Drouin made up for a poor start and came from behind to win. Sweden’s Sophia Bergdahl was second and American Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, Vt.) placed third. Amy Johnson (Bondville, Vt.), the only other American in the race, placed sixth after crashing in the bottom section.

Lahtela, Traa keep pace in duals

Janne Lahtela of Finland and Kari Traa of Norway won the first freestyle event of the Winter Goodwill Games Saturday as each captured gold in moguls at Whiteface.

Even without some of Tahoe’s best mogulists the U.S. contingent had a solid showing as Ann Battelle (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) was second and both Justine Van Houte (Telluride, Colo.) and Ryan Riley (Steamboat Springs) took bronze medals.

Lahtela scored a perfect 15.00 in turns Saturday and ended up with a winning tally of 28.99. He topped Canadian Jean-Luc Brassard, who finished second with a score of 28.17. Riley, the 1999 U.S. dual moguls champ, checked in with a 27.84. Evan Dybvig (Tunbridge, Vt.) was fifth with a 27.62 and Alex Wilson (Buffalo, N.Y.) followed in sixth with a 27.58.

Traa edged out Battelle with a score of 26.36 to 26.14. Van Houte had a 25.34, while Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, N.Y.) finished sixth (23.43) and Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City) was ninth (21.89).

A three-time Olympian, Battelle pulled a rarity on the first jump – a double twister spread. It was just the second time she had done it in a competitive setting.

Female riders super in home super-G

The U.S. made a strong showing Saturday in super-G at the Goodwill Games as Sondra Van Ert led the women to a podium sweep.

Ian Price (Manchester Center, Vt.) took the victory in the men’s competition on the World Cup SG course at Whiteface Mountain.

Van Ert, of Ketchum, Idaho, was solid all the way down the course and won with a time of 1 minute, 49.19 seconds, more than four seconds ahead of Rosey Fletcher (Girdwood, Alaska), who placed second with a time of 1:53.75. Teammate Stacia Hookum (Edwards, Colo.) was third in 1:54.00.

Price also went all out and teetered on the edge of control, but held it together to take the win with a 1:42.40. Austrian Alexander Maier was second in 1:43.08 and American Chris Klug (Aspen, Colo.) came in third, posting a 1:43.55. U.S. Team rider Jeff Archibald (Salt Lake City) and American Peter Thorndike (Meredith, N.H.) did not finish the race.

The men’s race featured 24 riders including Maier, who is the brother of Hermann Maier, the superstar Austrian speed skier.

Bergoust leads podium sweep

Eric Bergoust added another gold medal to his growing collection, leading a 1-2-3 U.S. sweep of men’s aerials at the Winter Goodwill Games on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Brenda Petzold (Andover, Mass.) took the women’s bronze behind winner Veronica Brenner of Canada.

Bergoust, of Park City, Utah, won with a 247.86 score, three points ahead of teammate Britt Swartley (Blue Bell, Pa.). Joe Pack (Park City, Utah) won the bronze. In typical Bergoust fashion, he stepped up to a more difficult second jump – a quadruple-twisting, triple somersault, with a very challenging two twists on the first flip.

It was the third straight major championship win Bergoust, who took the Olympic gold in 1998, the World Championship gold in 1999, and now the inaugural Winter Goodwill Games gold.

Petzold, meanwhile, came from deep in the pack after the first jump to take the bronze. Brenner led both jumps and led silver medalist Nannan Xu of China by 11 points.

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