Lake Placid, NY Feb. 19--Janne Lahtela of Finland and Kari Traa ofNorway won the first freestyle event of the inaugural Winter GoodwillGames Saturday as they each captured golds in moguls at WhitefaceMountain. The U.S. contingent had a solid showing as Ann Battelle(Steamboat Springs, CO) was second and both Justine Van Houte(Telluride, CO) and Ryan Riley (Steamboat Springs, CO) took bronzemedals.
Lahtela scored a perfect 15.00 in turns and ended up with a winningtally of 28.99, topping Canadian Jean-Luc Brassard, who finished secondwith a score of 28.17. Riley, the 1999 U.S. dual moguls champ, checkedin with a 27.84. Evan Dybvig (Tunbridge, VT) was fifth with a 27.62 andAlex Wilson (Buffalo, NY) followed in sixth with a27.58.
Traa edged out Battelle with a score of 26.36 to 26.14. Van Houte had a25.34, while Jillian Vogtli (Ellicotville, NY) finished sixth (23.43)and Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) was ninth (21.89).
Off the first kicker, Lahtela nailed a quad twister and felt it was oneof the best he had done all week. He pulled a daffy double twisterspread on the lower hit and stomped the landing despite an off-balancetakeoff.
"I think that the thing that made the difference today was thelandings," said Lahtela. "I'm really strong in the landings and I canstart the turns right away. I felt so good on the turns.
A three-time Olympian, Battelle pulled a rarity on the first jump-adouble twister spread. It was just the second time she had done it in acompetitive setting. She capped the airs with a double daffy on thesecond hit to finish her run on the long Wilderness course.
"Today I didn't get off the jumps as well," said Battelle. "I did thejumps that I had planned. Going into the World Cup finals, I want to getmore consistent on hitting my triples. It's been a good week and theweather has helped...pretty warm for Lake Placid. It's great to have myfamily around."