Mt. Buller, Australia, Aug. 13–A confident Eric Bergoust (Missoula,MT), shrugging off erratic weather and a lack of training Down Under andcalling on months of training at home, tied his own world record forpoints on one jump and set a world record for total points for a fourthtime Sunday as he won his second World Cup aerials meet in 24 hours.
The 1998 Olympic champion and ’99 World Championships aerials goldmedalist received 133.05 points on his first jump when he nailed adouble-full-full-full (four twists, three flips) and finished with260.98 points to 248.62 for Czech Ales Valenta.
It was the first timeany skier has scored more than 260 points in a meet and shredded the257.21-point record he’d set last February in Piancavallo, Italy. (Hepreviously had set world marks in 1996 in Kirchberg, Austria, and whenhe won the Olympic gold medal in 1998.)
“I still don’t believe it,” Bergoust said, catching his breath at theSki Team’s condo before the media conference. The performance, includingPinacavallo and Nagano in ’98, gives him the top three highest-scoringjumps in aerials history.
“I got up this morning, l looked at the weather and it was kinda windy,crappy, kinda foggy and I said, ‘I don’t care if they cancel. I’ve gotone win and that’s fine. Two podiums would be nice, but I don’t care.’The weather was crummy…kinda like it was earlier in the week when wecouldn’t train.”
But when the weather held off so the meet could go on, he regrouped andspanked everyone. “And I’m not slowing down, either,” he said. “My mottothis spring was ‘Throw out a lot’ – as in accelerate, try to break awayfrom the pack, don’t be hanging in a group of guys, sometimes first,sometimes fourth or fifth. I want to do what I’m capable of.”
Still, Bergoust – who had crashed repeatedly in the one training daythe U.S. aerialists got Friday before winning the season opener Saturday- took charge on his first jump. “That was the best double-in jumpI’ve ever done, for sure. And it’s the same score I got on my first jumpat the Olympics – that was a full-double full-full and this was doublefull-full-full, different jumps but equally as good.
“Yeah, that first jump was definitely top-3 all-time for me…and,obviously, the score was best ever.”
Before his second jump, Bergoust said he toyed briefly with whether tounfurl a new jump which he’s working on en route to trying to be thefirst person to complete five twists, but discarded the idea andcompleted a different quad-twisting-triple maneuver, a full-doublefull-full. One of his goals this season, in addition to successfullydefending his World Championships crown, is to win the World Cup aerialstitle, and this weekend in Australia gives him a jump start toward thetitle.
“This is three straight World Cup wins for me, going back toPiancavallo – five overall, if you include the Goodwill Games inFebruary and the national championship,” he said. “I’m on a roll and Iplan to keep working hard. I’ve never won the Grand Prix World Cup, sothat’s kind of a focus this season. Worlds, of course, is veryimportant, too.”
Two days, two meets, two wins. What’s he do for an encore?”Consistency,” Bergoust said. “I’m gonna be happy if I get two-sixtyeven once again this year. I’ll really be psyched. Everyone’s jumpingbetter and better. I’m just trying to improve at a faster pace. It’stough after 13 years, but I’ve learned a lot. I have tons of experienceto draw on…
“I haven’t felt this good since winning the Olympics,” he said, thencorrected himself. “Well, winning Worlds was cool, too – this felt aboutthe same as winning Worlds in ’99.”