Australian athlete Danielle Scott showed she is on the way to becoming one of the top international aerial skiers on the World Cup circuit when she captured the silver medal in the season’s opening event in Beijing, China, overnight (Australian time).
The second place by the 24-year-old OWIA/VIS skier delivered Scott with the second World Cup podium finish in her career.
Scott’s impressive performance capped off a powerful showing by all three members of the Australian team. Scott qualified in first, Laura Peel in fourth and Renee McElduff in seventh.
Overall, McElduff finished in eighth while Peel was ninth.
However, Scott led the Aussie charge throughout the Beijing event and pushed the winning Chinese athlete Mengtao Xu, the Olympic Winter Games silver medallist. American Kiley McKinnon was third.
The event was staged in the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the scene of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, which was transformed into a World Cup aerial skiing venue for this weekend’s double header.
In the first round of finals, fellow OWIA/VIS athlete Peel made a small landing error on landing and narrowly missed a spot in the last six.
While Peel and McElduff’s scores in the round of 12 were just a little short of the mark required to advance to the six woman super final, Scott progressed with the equal second best score of the first final.
In the gripping six woman round to decide medals, both Scott’s and Mengtao’s jump selections were the same, a double full full, however, Mengtao attracted a score of 95.88 from the five judges while Scott’s overall score was 92.35.
Until the last jump of the night, Scott was at the top of the leader’s board but Mengtao’s pushed the Aussie back into second place with her last run down the hill.
Coach Jeff Bean was highly pleased with the performances of all his athletes.
“It was very satisfying to have all three girls in the final”, he said.
“They had a good training camp in Ruka (Northern Finland) to start the season where the focus had been around working the basic elements of their jumping and to see all that work come though, I am sure it feels really good for them all.
“Laura Peel’s jump in the final was so close to great. A slightly deep landing was the only difference of her not being in the last final.
“The team as a whole is looking strong.”
The team lines up again tonight Australian time for the second stage of the weekend’s double header – a team’s competition, which is a new format for this season.
Woman’s World Cup aerial skiing, Beijing, China
1. Mengtao Xu (CHN), 2. Danielle Scott (AUS), 3. Kiley McKinnon (USA), 4. Fanyu Kong (CHN), 5.Hanna Huskova (BLR), 6. Sicun Xu (CHN), 8. Renee McElduff (AUS), 9. Laura Peel (AUS).
Woman’s World Cup standings, after round 1
1. Mengtao Xu (CHN) 100, 2. Danielle Scott (AUS) 80, 3. Kiley McKinnon (USA) 60, 4. Fanyu Kong (CHN) 50, 5.Hanna Huskova (BLR) 45, 6. Sicun Xu (CHN) 40, 8. Renee McEld uff (AUS) 32, 9. Laura Peel (AUS) 29.