February 15, 2006
SAUZE d'OULX, Italy (USST Press Release)—First-time Olympian Toby Dawson (Vail, CO) won bronze in moguls Wednesday night under the lights in Sauze d'Oulx. Jeremy Bloom (Loveland, CO) was sixth, Travis Mayer (Steamboat Springs, CO) was seventh and Travis Cabral (South Lake Tahoe, CA) finished ninth.
Australian Dale Begg-Smith, who leads the World Cup moguls standings, won the gold and was followed by Finn Mikko Ronkainen who took silver.
Dawson, currently fourth in World Cup points, sat in the silver medal spot behind Ronkainen with just Begg-Smith left to ski.
"It definitely wasn't my career run," said Dawson, who was born in South Korea. "I knew I had to have a solid performance for a medal, but I wasn't able to quite do what I wanted to do. No one made mistakes."
Dawson made the U.S. Olympic roster late by winning a World Cup at Deer Valley, Utah on Jan. 13. He followed that with a third in Lake Placid. The 2005 world champ in duals, Dawson has had asometimes painful road to the Games with injuries in '04 and '05.
"I've really been struggling," said Dawson. "I broke my leg, tore my ligaments and then broke my foot right after that. I still have the pin in my foot. I was just happy I was able to get my health back and compete at full fitness here at the Olympics."
Bloom's run in the finals featured a 720 Cross and a corked 720 Cross.[pagebreak]"I knew I made a little mistake, but I came here to accomplish my goal," said Bloom. "I didn't come here to win any certain color medals and I was so close. I'm happy with the way I skied and I'm happy with the experience I've had here. There's not too much to look down upon."
Bloom, a freshman all-America pick at Colorado, will be heading to the NFL Combines in Indianapolis in late February. The Combines are a chance for potential NFL players to show their stuff in front of team officials, scouts, and coaches.
"It's good to have that right now and right ahead of me," said Bloom. "Most of these guys are taking it easy now, going out tonight. Maybe I won't be, though."
All four U.S. men made the finals as Cabral was second, Bloom fourth, Dawson sixth and Mayer seventh in the afternoon qualifier.
"It wasn't the best run (his finals run) I've ever had, but I gave it my all," said Cabral, the '03 World Cup moguls champion. "I knew to get on the podium I would have needed the perfect run. One little mistake makes a big difference.On the bottom jump, I landed in a hole and split my legs. They (judges) catch that and it costs you. I've worked so hard to put down the run I just put down, it just didn't work out the way I would have liked. I've been working my whole life for this."[pagebreak]The United States has picked up a freestyle medal in all five Olympics since the sport made its debut at the 1992 Games.
"I felt our guys skied great," said U.S. coach Jeff Wintersteen. "Travis Cabral and Jeremy made some small mistakes, but overall they skied great. Dale (Begg-Smith) was phenomenal tonight, he was flawless and that's hard to beat. Overall, I'm pleased with how our boys skied."
XX OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES
Sauze d'Oulx, ITA - Feb. 15, 2006
1. Dale Begg-Smith, Australia, 26.77
2. Mikko Ronkainen, Finland, 26.62
3. Toby Dawson, Vail, Colo., 26.30
4. Marc-Andre Moreau, Canada, 25.62
5. Jesper Bjoernlund, Sweden, 25.21
6. Jeremy Bloom, Loveland, Colo., 25.17
7. Travis Mayer, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 24.91
9. Travis Cabral, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 24.38