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Johnson, Heil on top in Japan


The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team netted a pair of medals on March 9 at the last World Cup moguls competition of the season in Madaro, Japan. Ryan Johnson took the gold medal in the dual moguls, the 27-year-old’s first victory since a World Cup at Breckenridge, Colorado back in 1997.

Warren Tanner of Grimsby, Ontario, was sixth and Jean-Luc Brassard of Grande Ile, Quebec finished in eighth.

In the women’s contest, Jennifer Heil of Spruce Grove, Alberta, narrowly missed her second gold medal in as many weeks after making the finals to face Ingrid Bernsten. She took the silver medal in that contest, continuing to establish herself at just 18-years-old as one of the top mogul skiers in the world. Tami Bradley of Vancouver finished fifth on the day to move to third place in the overall dual moguls standings. Heil moved up to fourth overall.

In the single moguls competition on the following day, Canada missed out on the medals. Heil was the top skier, finishing ninth overall. Scott Bellvance was 10 th for the men while Stephane Rochon, third in the standings, was 12 th .

The week before Heil claimed her first career gold medal in single moguls at Inawashiro, Japan.

She spun a perfect helicopter off the top jump, then a 360 with an iron cross in the middle (180 spin, iron cross, 180 spin) off the bottom jump to post her highest ever World Cup score.

Her previous best was a silver at Mont Tremblant in 2001, and she has two bronze medals to her credit in a little over two seasons with the national team.

"I was definitely coming off a really big high from the Olympics," said Heil, who missed the Olympic bronze medal at Park City by a one one-hundredth of a point.

"I wouldn’t say it changes things," Heil said of her gold medal performance in Inawashiro. "It just adds to my confidence because I never had a (World Cup) victory." The Freestyle World Cup season wraps up on March 17 with the finals at Himos, Finland.

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