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Freestylers medal in Fernie

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team was in good form in Fernie last weekend, with athletes claiming two medals in moguls and aerials competition.

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The aerialists were first out of the gate on Friday, taking on red hot Chinese, Australian and American teams, as well as a growing number of strong jumpers from Eastern Europe.

Toronto’s Veronika Bauer, the silver medallist in the last two world championships, was the top Canadian with a bronze medal, behind Shuang Cheng and Nina Li of China. Lydia Ierodianconou, the current points leader, had a strong first jump but scrubbed a little on her second to place fifth behind Alla Tsuper of Belarus.

Although it was the third straight weekend with a medal for the Canadian girls, Bauer was the only skier to make the finals.

Because of the rain, some of the competitors were worried that the event could be cancelled or have the format changed to just one jump, but organizers managed to get the jump site up and running, and in competition shape.

"It’s always warm here and I like jumping when it’s warm," said Bauer, who has now won medals in Fernie for the last three years. "The colder it is, the harder it is for me because my muscles get tense."

In the men’s competition, four Canadians had shots at a medal in the finals, but were skunked in the end by bad landings. Steve Omischl, the reigning World Cup champion, was in third place after the first round of jumps but slipped into ninth place. Warren Shouldice of Calgary had another consistent weekend, and finished seventh. Jeff Bean of Ottawa was eighth and Cord Spero of Grande Prairie, Alberta 11 th .

Jeret Peterson of the U.S. added more breathing space to his number one ranking with another gold medal performance, while second and third went to Stanislav Kravchuk of the Ukraine and Alexei Grichin of Belarus.

In the dual moguls on Saturday, Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alberta put in a silver medal performance for her third podium in four competitions.

Kari Traa of Norway took the top spot by edging Heil in the last race, while Jillian Vogtli edged out fellow American Laurel Shanley for the bronze medal.

"I brought my mogul skiing to a new level today," said Heil, who has had more success in single moguls competition. "I don’t think I had ever skied as fast as I did in the final. To be in the final against Kari is a privilege and I knew I was in a tough battle."

Stephanie St-Pierre of Victoriaville, Quebec was 12 th , Whistler’s Sylvia Kerfoot 16 th , and Jennifer Simm of Prince George, Kristi Richards of Summerland and Elisa Kurylowicz of Ontario 17 th through 19 th respectively.

The men’s final, Nathan Roberts of the U.S. edged out his teammate Travis Mayer for the gold, while Rusian Sharifulin of Russia was third. The top Canadian was Marc-André Moreau of Chambly, Quebec. Stéphane Agnard of Ste-Anne-de Beapré was 11 th and Garrett Simm and Chris Wong of Prince George were 12 th and 19 th respectively.

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