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Canadians gold in freestyle


Rousseau, Bean win at Mont-Tremblant World Cup

Although he missed the Olympics last winter after suffering a serious, and potentially career-ending, neck injury, Canadian mogul skier Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau has bounced back on the World Cup circuit – and then some.

Competing at Mont-Tremblant on Jan. 11, the 23-year-old took his first ever gold medal with a score of 26.99, making the most of the Quebec cold and rock hard conditions that he grew up skiing.

"This is without a doubt the greatest day of my career," said the Dummondville, Quebec, native. "To do it here on home turf with so many friends and family is special."

Although Rousseau is no stranger to the podium, with four World Cup silver medals and a second-place finish at the world championships, he had yet to stand in the middle spot on the podium. He credited his win to a Friday night tribute to 1994 Olympic champion Jean-Luc Brassard, who announced his retirement this summer, and dedicated the win to his idol.

Rousseau was trailed closely by Jeremy Bloom of the U.S., with a score of 26.67. Tapio Luusua of Finland was third with a 26.29.

Scott Bellavance of Prince George and Whistler was seventh overall, veteran Stephane Rochon of St-Sauveur, Quebec was 10 th and Chris Wong of Prince George was 12 th .

Rochon also surprised the team on Friday by announcing his own retirement at the end of this season.

In the women’s moguls, Canada’s Stephanie St-Pierre of Victoriaville came the closest to the podium with her fifth place finish – not too shabby considering that the 17-year-old is still a member of the national development team.

"This is just amazing for me," she said. "I was sick all week and my trianing had not gone well. I’m as surprised as anyone at how all this turned out."

Her score of 25.17 was just 0.2 points back of the silver medal.

The gold medal went to Shannon Bahrke of the U.S., who is leading the tour, with a score of 26.49. Marina Cherkasova of Russia was second, and Laurel Shanley of the U.S. claimed the bronze.

In aerials competition on the following day, Ottawa’s Jeff Bean destroyed the competition with a near-perfect second jump and landing. He was in third after the first jump, and knew he needed to put something extra into his quad-twisting, triple somersaults.

The judges awarded Bean a score of 245.18, almost three points higher than runner-up Jeret Peterson of the U.S., who had a score of 242.35.

Bean is now firmly on top of the World Cup standings after finishing first and fourth in two previous events.

"This was awesome," Bean told reporters. "It was pretty special, especially with my family there. It was very loud out there."

Third place went to 23-year-old Ryan Blais of Grand Prairie, Alberta, who is only in his second year with the Canadian national team. It was his best career result after a fifth place finish last season at Lake Placid.

Steve Omischl of North Bay finished in fourth place, Cord Spero of Grand Prairie, Alberta was 10 th , Daniel Murphy of Laval, Quebec was 12 th and Nicolas Fontaine of Magog, Quebec was 17 th .

The Canadian women’s team was diminished in training when Veronika Bauer suffered a fall that resulted in a partial collapse of one lung. She was prescribed rest to heal the injury, but could be back this weekend for the World Cup in Lake Placid.

Deidra Dionne of Red Deer, Alberta, was the top Canadian in fourth place, less than a point away from the bronze medal. Veronica Brenner of Toronto was fifth. Canadians Melissa Prefontaine, Karen MacDonald and Amber Peterson were 13 th through 15 th respectively.

The gold and silver went to a pair of Australian jumpers, Alisa Camplin and Lydia Ierodiaconou. Kate Reed of the U.S. was third.

The World Cup continues this weekend in Lake Placid before coming to Fernie, B.C. for competitions Jan. 25 to 26.