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China Loses Aerials Gold Hopes After Shocking Fall
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Women's aerialist Guo Xinxin of China was looking good, leading the first jump with 103.17 points, until she crash-landed her second jump, which pulled her down to sixth place with 174.85 points at the Turin Winter Olympics on Wednesday evening. Guo's score was a dismal 27.70 behind the gold medalist Evelyne Leu of Switzerland.

The 22-year-old Guo led the first round of the final with a perfect back-lay-full-full jump.

She followed it up with a more difficult triple twist back-full-full-full in the second round, but crash-landed on the slope to finish seventh.

With tears in her eyes, Guo smiled to the camera. "I know I missed the opportunity. I landed well but then fell. But I believe I'll do better. I believe I'll have the medal in 2010."

By contrast, Switzerland's Leu, who was fifth after the first jump, rose to the top position with a perfect triple twist. She won the gold with an aggregate of 202.55.

Leu said she was surprised she completed the difficult jump perfectly, since she hadn't done it that many times this season. But she risked the jump to keep her medal hopes alive.

"I was always thinking I could beat them (Chinese aerialists), but I also knew it was really close," she said.

China's Li Nina, the current World Cup champion, won the silver. Li was originally to perform her second jump with a difficulty degree of 3.900. But she lowered it to 3.525 after the first jump.

"If I had felt good, I would have done the 3.900 one. But due to the weather and my back injury, I didn't feel comfortable with that jump. I only did it twice this season and I wasn't one hundred percent sure that I could complete it. So I decided to do a jump that I feel confident with," she said.

Li's silver medal performance equaled China's historic achievement in the sport when Xu Nannan was runner-up at the 1998 Nagano Games.

Dustin Adam Wilson, head coach of the Chinese team, was obviously disappointed.

"They are fantastic, they won the first round and they came back in the second. They did great, obviously. But actually I'm disappointed because we came here to win," the Canadian Wilson said.

Australia's Alisa Camplin, gold medalist at the Salt Lake City Games, picked up the bronze. Camplin tore her anterior cruciate ligament in October 2005. But made it to Turin after a radical surgery.

(Xinhua News Agency February 23, 2006)

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