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January 29, 2005
PARK CITY, Utah (AP by Doug Alden)–Jeremy Bloom was completely confident as the last hope for the U.S. freestyle team.
The only American to make it past the quarterfinals in the dual moguls Saturday, Bloom swept through to win his second World Cup event in three days and give the U.S. team all three men’s titles.
Bloom, who led a U.S. sweep in the individual moguls on Thursday, beat Australia’s Dale Begg-Smith in the final run Saturday night at Deer Valley.
“I knew going into semis and the finals that my teammates had gotten knocked off. So obviously I carried the weight of that on my shoulder,” Bloom said. “But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Bloom, the former University of Colorado receiver who gave up football to concentrate on skiing and the 2006 Olympics, came through for the home crowd.
Bloom was clean off both kickers, with a 720-degree “iron cross,” on the first and a quad twist off the second _ twisting his skis four times high in the air and thrilling the crowd. Begg-Smith finished slightly ahead, but the time difference wasn’t enough to make up for a slip at the top of the course by the Australian, giving Bloom a 24-11 win on points.
“I saw him blow out in the middle. I actually slowed down,” Bloom said. “At that point I wasn’t worried about the speed anymore.”Bloom went right after the women’s final, when American Hannah Kearney had a chance to win her first dual moguls against Canadian Jennifer Heil, the duals points leader.
Kearney hung with Heil until the second kicker, when she took a nasty fall on a back flip that didn’t quite make it all the way around. Kearney landed on her side and slid lifelessly several yards down course. She stayed down for several minutes, but got up and pumped her arms for the fans before walking the rest of the way down.
Kearney, who had never placed in the top three in duals, finished second. She also took third in the individual moguls on Thursday.
“I’m really sore, but I’m alive,” Kearney said. “I feel good about my results and my skiing today, other than that last part.”
The Czech Republic’s Nikola Sudova finished third, beating Norway’s Kari Traa, the 2002 Olympic moguls gold medalist.
Janne Lahtela, who won the men’s moguls at the 2002 Games, edged Russia’s Rusian Sharifulin for third.
Of the 16 finalists in the men’s event, seven were Americans, but the number was cut to two in a disastrous first round of the finals. Travis Mayer, who fell to second behind Bloom in the dual standings after falling in his first run of the final.
Nathan Roberts was the only other American to make it into the quarterfinals and had to go head-to-head with Bloom, the top qualifier. Roberts hung with Bloom through most of the course, but slipped slightly when he landed off the second kicker and Bloom won 20-15.
The dual moguls competition wrapped up the three-day event, which was dominated by the U.S. men’s team. U.S. men won all three events, with Bloom winning both moguls and Ryan St. Onge winning the aerials Friday night.
Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press