Gu Ailing, the Beijing Winter Olympics champion, has once again proven her prowess in the sport of freestyle skiing. On December 9th, she clinched the championship at the 2023-2024 FIS Freestyle Skiing U-shaped Skiing World Cup held at Yunding Ski Park in Chongli District, Zhangjiakou City, Hebei Province.
Ailing’s stellar performance saw her scoring more than 90 points in each of the three skating rounds in the final. In fact, she even managed to score a game-high of 94.25 in her second skate, putting her far ahead of silver medalist Hannah Faulhaber of the United States.
Faulhaber, who scored 82.25 points in the first skate, could not keep up with Ailing’s performance and made mistakes in the subsequent two skates, ultimately settling for the silver medal. Meanwhile, Canadian Amy Fraser managed to secure the bronze medal with a final score of 79.25.
“I chose to do actions that I didn’t do in training. Because I was so happy to see so many friends coming to support me,” Ailing said after the game in a statement, showcasing her joy at emerging victorious in the competition.
While Ailing shone bright, it wasn’t the same for all members of the Chinese team. Li Fanghui and Zhang Kexin, who made it to the finals, faced their own challenges. Zhang Kexin suffered a fall during pre-match training and was unable to compete, while Li Fanghui made mistakes in three rounds of skating, eventually finishing in seventh place.
The men’s competition was equally fierce, with American skier Alex Ferreira ultimately winning the championship with a score of 91.00 in the first skate. He was closely followed by New Zealand rookie Luke Harrold, born in 2008, who achieved a personal best of 89.25 points. American veteran Hunter Hess secured the bronze medal, finishing only 0.5 points behind second place.
With this, the 2023-2024 FIS Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Halfpipe Skills World Cup held at Genting Ski Park has come to an end, leaving spectators and fans in awe of the incredible talent displayed by the athletes.