January 11, 2007
PARK CITY, Utah (USST Press Release)—Hometown favorite and reigningmoguls world champion Nate Roberts (Park City, UT) and ShannonBahrke (Tahoe City, CA) - who won Olympic silver on the samehill in 2002, led a three-podium World Cup performance by U.S.skiers Thursday at the Chevrolet Freestyle International startedin steady snowfall at Deer Valley Resort.Roberts won the men's event with 26.03 points a short time afterBahrke won the women's contest. Dave Babic (Washington, VT) wasfourth, dropping down ap lace after a routine check of thecomputer scores showed an input error for Japan's Osamu Ueno,who then edged Babic by .03. Sho Kashima (Zephyr Cove, NV) wassixth with David Digravio (Farmington, ME) 10th after a tiebreakwith Jay Bowman-Kirigin (SaltLake City), who was 11th.
Bahrke had 25.15 points, Olympic and World Cup champion JenniferHeil of Canada was second (24.86) and Hannah Kearney (Norwich,VT), the women's world champion, took third place. HeatherMcPhie (Bozeman, MT), in her third World Cup finished fourthwith Michelle roark (Denver) sixth and Shelly Robertson (Reno,NV) as the fifth U.S. woman in the top 10, finishing seventh inthe Nature Valley Freestyle Challenge moguls event.
Roberts is living the dream
"This is like a dream," Roberts said, following hisdisappointment at not making the 2006 Olympic Team. He concededhe was anxious before the start of the event. "I skied a greatqualifying run (but) I was nervous, a little extra pressure (infinals), no doubt about it. Skiing in front of my hometown. Itold myself 'Win or lose here, you're gonna crash or you'regonna succeed, so put it on the line.' And I got in the zone andit happened...
"The top air was a nice back full (inverted flip) and the bottomair...I really don't remember. I was in the zone and I don'tremember the details," he said. It's the third World Cup victoryof his career, including one dual moguls win plus his gold medalfrom the 2005 World Championships."It was just good to get back in that zone and compete. I wantedto do my best in front of my family and friends."
He echoed the other podium skiers, noting the continual snowfallsoftened the Champion Run course, which had been extremely firmduring training. "The snow helped," he said.[pagebreak]Bahrke's back (Part Deux)
Bahrke, who shared a big embrace with her father at the finisharea, is back atop the World Cup moguls points for the firsttime since her title in 2003; she was fifth in qualifying alsohad a nearly flawless second run for the win, the seventh of hercareer and her second in six days (since last Saturday in MontGabriel, Que.) after no wins since March 2003. "I can't believethis season. It's been unbelievable...yeah, it's been an amazingweek. This is unreal," she said. In 2003, she also was bronzemedalist in dual moguls at the World Championships at DeerValley.
She recognized the strong skiing from the four women ahead ofher in the qualifying round - with Kearney qualifying second andMcPhie third - and said she was determined "to ski like I know Ican ski. ... I had a good run, so I'm stoked," Bahrke said.
The exhilaration stems from the injuries and frustrations she'shad since winning the World Cup crown in 2003. In '04, Bahrkebroke her jaw when she slammed down on a ski pole during a run;in '05, she tore her right anterior cruciate ligament intraining before a World up event. Last season was thedisappointing return even though she made her second OlympicTeam.
"After my Olympic performance last year," she told a pressconference, "I really thought about maybe retiring, and Idecided to come out this time and see if it's still in my heartto be here." Two wins in two events in less than a week havehelped convince her she's back on track.
Kearney, with her mother having arrived the night before fromVermont, said she had mixed emotions - pleased to be on thepodium but disappointed in her two jumps. Howeverr, she alsobrightened and said, "One of my goals this year is to be moreconsistent. So, fifth last week, third now...and first nexttime. That's a good progression."
Breakthrough for McPhie
McPhie, who is coming back from a fractured back in June - theapparent result of continued poundings, was knocked off thepodium when Heil laid down a strong final run. Still, she washighly pleased with her third World Cup showing. "This is mysecond time in finals (top 16) and last week making sixth was Iwas really excited, and fourth is even better...and hopefully Ican keep it rolling with the momentum and just keep going forit...
"I'm just so excited because I finally feel I deserve to be atthis level and I so excited to be competing with them. It's justan honor to be out here," McPhie said, "and to have earned mystripes."
Head Coach Scott Rawles praised the "attack from back" byRoberts and Bahrke. "They stepped up big," he said, "and kindaput the heat on the rest of the field, especially Nate throwinga 26 up on the board, all the skiers after him - the next eightskiers after him - having heard that score knew they really hadto get something done here to step be up on the podium."
After serials Thursday night, the Chevrolet FreestyleInternational continues Friday night with a second aerialscontest and Saturday night with dual moguls.[pagebreak]NBC will televise coverage Sunday Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. ET andSunday Jan. 28 at noon ET from the Deer Valley Resort events.Versus (formerly OLN) will provide two hours of coverage SundayJan. 21 at 5 p.m. ET and two hours on Sunday Jan. 28, alsostarting at 5 p.m. ET.
FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
Chevrolet Freestyle International
Deer Valley Resort
Park City, UT - Jan. 11, 2007
Men's Moguls (16 make finals)
1. Nate Roberts, Park City, UT, 26.03 points
2. Gregoire Dufosse, France, 25.43
3. Osamu Ueno, Japan, 24.96
4. Dave Babic, Washington, VT, 24.93
5. Pierre Ochs, Canada, 24.85
6. Sho Kashima, Zephyr Cove, NV, 24.67
10. David Digravio, Farmington, ME, 24.33 (won tiebreaker)
11. Jay Bowman-Kirigin, Salt Lake City, 24.33
19. Landon Gardner, Missoula, MT
43. Michael Morse, Duxbury, MA
51. Tim Preston, Campton, NH
Women's Moguls (16 make finals)
1. Shannon Bahrke, Tahoe City, UT, 25.15
2. Jennifer Heil, Canada, 24.86
3. Hannah Kearney, Norwich, VT, 24.70
4. Heather McPhie, Bozeman, MT, 24.55
5. Sara Kjellin, Sweden, 24.29
6. Michelle Roark, Denver, 23.85
7. Shelly Robertson, Reno, NV, 23.56
12. Kayla Snyderman, Winchester, MA, 23.19
13. Jillian Vogtli, Ellicotville, NY, 22.67
19. Emiko Torito, Denver
22. McKenzy Golding, Reno, NV
24. Eliza Outtrim, Steamboat Springs, CO