Chinese women skiers have all entered the final of the freestyle
aerials. However, they are now trailing Australia's Jacqui
Former world champion Jacqui Cooper of Australia upset top title
favorite Li Nina from China to win the women's aerials
qualification at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics Wednesday
Cooper, who claimed the title at the 1999 World Championships
but missed the last two Winter Olympics due to injuries, notched a
combined score of 213.36 points in two jumps to march into
Wednesday's final as top finisher of the 23-member qualification
round, which was originally scheduled for Sunday but postponed due
Li Nina, the 2005-2006 season World Cup leader, ranked third
with 188.93 points and that's enough for the 23-year-old Chinese to
make the final along with three teammates.
"It's OK to place third in the qualification, because I just
want to make the final," said Li, the fifth finisher at the Salt
Lake City Games in 2002. "I will demonstrate my best form in
Guo Xinxin, the World Cup winner in Deer Valley, United States
in the 2005-2006 season, edged out Li for the second place on
204.87 points, while Xu Nannan and Wang Jiao also went
through. Australian Lydia Ierodiaconou, who had been
considered a medal contender and placed third with 101.52 points
after the first jump, crashed in her second try before being
carried off the ice in stretcher.
Settling for the 14th place with 155.45 points, Ierodiaconou
narrowly missed a top 12 finish and the chance to advance.
Recovering from a serious injury in her right knee, defending
Olympic champion Alisa Camplin, also from Australia, secured a
berth in the final after collecting a total of 165.32 points for
the 10th place.
(CRI English February 22, 2006)