Aussie aerialists eye wind advantage

The winds that have blown so strongly at Bokwang Phoenix Park could be the ace up the sleeve of the Australian women's aerials team.

Qualifying for the event, a stronghold of Australian winter sport for a quarter of a century, starts on Thursday.

All four of Australia's team: Lydia Lassila, Danielle Scott, Laura Peel and Sam Wells have featured on World Cup podiums.

Three have done much more.

Lassila, in her fifth and final Games, is a gold medallist from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and backed that up with a stunning bronze when attempting a quad-twisting triple somersault in Sochi.

Lassila will compete in her fifth Games. Pic: Getty

Scott is a two-time World Cup title runner-up while Peel has the 2015 world championship on her shelf.

It is a terrific team pedigree and should bode well in PyeongChang despite the group's apparent lack of high-end tricks.

None of the Australians will jump off the triple kicker, limiting their point scoring potential in the process.

The site's swirling winds have made jumping at training difficult, with the problem only exacerbated when the tricks are more technically demanding.

"We had full-on winds last year in the test event," Lassila said.

"We are expecting it but it plays into my strategy of staying on the double."

It does however leave the likes of American Ashley Caldwell and China's Xu Mengtao in a good position to claim medals should they consistently jump at their best.

But that's a big if.

Caldwell in particular has struggled this season despite having a quad-twister in the bag.

Xu, a Sochi silver medallist and this year's World Cup champion looks to be in better form and will be favourite for the event.

Lassila still says gold is very much on her mind; a result that would firmly place the 36 year-old as Australia's greatest Winter Olympian.

Her self-belief is not only justified on experience but the fact she came first and second in her last two World Cup events.

She will call time on two decades in the sport when the competition finishes.

Scott meanwhile will also stay on the double but can call on a relatively high-scoring quad-twisting one if needed.

On Thursday the first qualifying round allows six athletes to progress to the 12-woman final on Friday; another six skiers join them from the subsequent repechage round.

Back To Top
feedback