The women’s aerials freestyle skiing event at the 2014 Winter Olympics has just come to a thrilling conclusion. It was an exciting final round, with a field of eight slowly being whittled down until a winner emerged.
Jason Stahl of NBC Olympics tweeted out the results after the competition:
It came down to Alla Tsuper of Belarus, Australia’s Lydia Lassila and a pair of Chinese nationals, Li Nina and Xu Mengtao, in a super final that was chock-full of talent.
Tsuper eventually won out with a Jump 3 score of 98.01 to secure another gold for Belarus on Day 7 of the Sochi Games.
Mengtao had to settle with silver for her efforts, an impressive feat considering she scored the only triple-digit score of the initial pair of final rounds. The Chinese star showed off some wildly acrobatic maneuvers before coming up just short in the final.
Lassila came away with the bronze after going for broke to defend her gold medal earned in the 2010 Vancouver Games. She wasn’t able to stick the landing and it cost her dearly.
Let’s take a look at the complete scores from the final round of the women’s aerials competition from Sochi, as well as recap how each participant made it to the podium.
Alla Tsuper landed a rare and skillful back full-full-full to start things off, but her form left something to be desired. The skis were not parallel all the way around and her arms weren’t tight, but she stuck the landing nearly perfect.
The judges were impressed and doled out a score of 98.01, a great mark that the rest of the competitors knew they had to pull out all stops to match. It wasn’t to be as she sweat out a hard-earned gold medal.
Skyler Wilder of NBC Olympics reported on what the crowd was doing after Tsuper finished her run:
BE-LA-RUS, BE-LA-RUS, BE-LA-RUS - the crowd is chanting & going nuts for Alla Tsuper!— Skyler Wilder (@NorthWestWilder) February 14, 2014
Two-time sliver medalist Li Nina was next, attempting a tough double-full, double-full. It proved to be a fatal mistake, as she failed to catch enough height and fell. She crushed her hopes of at least matching her silver medals earned in Turin and Vancouver in the last two Olympic Games.
The judges deemed the disastrous trick worthy of a 46.02, which ultimately resulted in a fourth-place finish.
Lydia Lassila came next with a superbly ambitious trick. She hoped to defend her gold by sticking one of the toughest moves, but ultimately could not land it when it mattered most.
Wilder pointed out that Lassila attempted the toughest trick of the evening:
Regardless, her performance in the air was given a score of 72.12 and assured her a place on the podium. It would be a bronze performance and easily would have been a gold if she were able to stand upright at the conclusion.
Lassila spoke to Lorraine Lock of Women's Agenda ahead of the Sochi Games about what it feels like to win a gold, something she wasn't able to replicate on Friday:
There's so much build up leading into an Olympics. So many things you try to ignore and block out to keep your focus. The feeling of winning overwhelmed me. I knew it was possible and my odds were good, but to actually do it was the best feeling ever.
Xu Mengtao was the last competitor to launch herself into the air. She knew she could win the gold by landing her back-leg double-full-full. It wasn’t the prettiest, but she managed to stay upright upon hitting the snow. The judges doled out a 83.50 for her efforts.
Freestyle skiing is far from over at the 2014 Winter Olympics. While the aerials discipline has come to a close for the women, the men still have to determine a champion.
The men’s aerials finals will take place on Monday, with medals being handed out at the conclusion of the event.
There will also be a variety of other freestyle skiing competitions taking place before the Sochi Games come to a close, including men’s and women’s halfpipe, plus a large number of ski cross events.
Make sure you stay tuned to Bleacher Report for all your freestyle skiing needs, including live coverage, recaps and instant analysis from the Sochi Games.