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Local Athletes Rack Up Medals At FIS World Championships

US Ski & Snowboard

Athletes with Park City ties had great success on their home slopes at the FIS World Championships. Overall nine medals were collected thanks to athletes with local ties.

14 medals were won by the USA at the 2019 FIS World Championships in Park City. The US led the way in medal counts over Canada’s nine. US Ski and Snowboard Director of Communications Tom Webb says the organization was happy to win the overall medal count.

“There are no trophies for that but obviously that’s what we aim to do,” Webb said. “Within US Ski and Snowboard we talk about helping our athletes being best in the world well we were here. There were some standout performances. I think the start Mick Dierdorff winning two medals. He never had been on a world cup podium before, but he wins that gold medal in snowboard cross.”

Dierdorff also won gold with teammate Lindsey Jacobellis in the snowboard cross team event.

Other athletes with local connections won medals at the games including Julia Krass winning Silver in freestyle big air. Winning bronze medals was Nick Goepper in freeski slopestyle and Brita Sigournney in freestyle halfpipe. Park City resident Isabel Atkin also earned bronze in freestyle big air representing the U.K. The dual moguls’ events on Saturday also earned three more medals for local athletes.

“Also, the atmosphere up at Deer Valley was just amazing,” Webb continued. “Jaelin Kauf obviously gets an awful lot of local support. Bradley Wilson, even though he’s not originally born here, he is very much a Park City athlete. I think to see Tess Johnson also putting herself into medal contention that was amazing. There were so many highlights. It’s ten days that has rushed by.”

Kauf and Wilson earned silver in the Dual moguls with Tess Johnson winning Bronze.

As the world championships came to an end a lot of buzz is surrounding one mogul run in particular.

During the dual mogul competition on Saturday Japan’s Daichi Hara attempted a double backflip that ended with him landing in the middle of a mogul’s field.

“One of the most astounding crashes I think anybody’s ever seen,” Webb explained, “I’m no expert on this, but I’m told what happens is that he hit that second jump so hard and he had so much air that he realized if he tried to land that single, he would have had a really serious problem. He went for a double, had he crossed the line I think that would have been incredibly spectacular. I also think he would have been disqualified because I think you’re not allowed to do a double flip.”

Hara was able to ski off after the crash and a few minutes later won the bronze medal the event. You can find a video link to his crash here.

Meanwhile in Sweden after a storied career ski racer Lindsey Vonn has retired.

Ahead of the final race of her career USA’s Lindsey Vonn tweeted out a message to her fans. Vonn said “One last time I will stand in the starting gate. One last time I will feel the adrenaline running through my veins. One last time I will risk it all. One last time… I will remember it forever.”

Vonn made good on her promise to give it her all as she earned a bronze medal in the world championships downhill race in Ares Sweeden. Webb says it was a fitting end to the ski icon’s career.

“Just an extraordinary performance,” Webb said. “It was only a couple of weeks ago that she was picking herself back up after an all-mighty accident. Then goes to Ares, now everybody knows just how many injuries she has had and how much pain she is in. So, for her to finish of her career with that Bronze is extraordinary.”

Vonn ends her career as the most winningest women ski racer in history with 82 wins, just four first place finishes behind the all-time record holder Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark. The Alpine World Ski Championships conclude on Sunday February 17th, with the Cross-Country ski world championships starting up in Austria on Tuesday February 19th and finishing on Sunday March 3rd.

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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