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Freestylers victorious



Canadian freestylers come away from world championships with lion’s share of medals

It would be hard to pick a single moment at the 2001 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships that captured the athleticism, intensity, spirit, or goodwill of the competition.

Some of the memories do, however, stick out more than others.

• Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau and Stephane Rochon’s sincere congratulations to Finland’s Mikko Rokainen even though he cost Canada the gold in men’s single moguls, and Rokainen subsequently giving credit to the Canadians for pushing the competition to the next level.

• Aerialist Veronika Bauer’s emotional reaction to the judge’s pronouncement that she was world champion. Deidra Dionne’s bronze medal in the same competition.

• The crowd applauding Jim Schiman for going for it, making the biggest air (and biggest crash) of the day in dual moguls.

• Tami Bradley, smiling bigger than the even the gold medal winner after her own bronze medal performance in the duals.

During the day, freestyle athletes wowed the crowds and showed off the continuing development of their sport with a flurry of twists, spins and combinations that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

At night, the crowds were treated to a big air exhibition featuring new school freeskiers, snowmobiles and an insane mountain biker, and to a quarterpipe display that saw skiers fly up and out of the range of the spotlights.

The envelope was definitely pushed, if not utterly destroyed by the calibre of competition.

More than 300 athletes, representing over 20 countries, competed in the World Championships. Winning five out of the 18 medals, more than any two other countries combined, definitely put Canada back on top of the heap.

Single Moguls – The white and red win silver and bronze

For a moment it looked like the Canadian men were going to win gold and silver in the single moguls Jan. 19, but Mikko Rokainen, the last skier of the day, had other ideas.

"I knew I had to have a good run, it was very important because last time we had spots one, two and three, so we had to make at least one medal this year," said Rokainen.

"The Canadians didn’t surprise me. I know Stephane and Pierre-Alexandre are very good skiers, and I wasn’t surprised at all to see them in the top three. When I heard their scores I knew I had to do very good with my run, and that’s what I did."

Rokainen pulled out a huge first jump, the biggest of the day, to earn the highest air scores and propel himself to the fastest overall time.