Han Xiaopeng and Qiu Sen made history on Monday when they became
the first Chinese men to qualify for an Olympic Games freestyle
Han had the satisfaction of going through to Thursday's final in
first place with 250.45pts while Qiu was in sixth place with
Tournament favourite Jeret Peterson of the United States was
down in eighth spot on 227.21.
"I am relieved that we have made a historical breakthrough for
the Chinese men's aerial team as we have never made the final
before," said Han.
"I felt a lot of pressure, especially on the second jump. But I
knew that if I performed my best I was pretty sure I would get into
"It's a surprise to get to the final as the number one ranked
Han admitted that he might attempt a more difficult programme on
Thursday in the final.
"I am thinking about more difficult jumps. But according to the
scores today, the difficult jumps didn't really get good results so
I will have to think about it."
Han, seventh in the World Cup standings, was only one of three
jumpers to record two jumps that scored more than 120 points each
as he pulled off a quad twisting back-full-double with his first
That was followed by a less demanding triple-twisting
Qiu said he was surprised how comfortable he felt.
"All I could think about was getting to the final and I knew
that if I could land safely I would make it through."
Liu Zhongqing and Ou Xiaotao, the other two Chinese men in the
tournament, failed to qualify for the final.
Also failing to make the final was defending champion Ales
Valenta of the Czech Republic who produced a scratchy performance
to score just 193.58 points and finish in a lowly 21st place.
Canada's Steve Omischl, another pre-tournament favourite, also
failed to make it through while America's World Cup top ten pair
Joe Pack and Ryan St Onge were also left on the sidelines.
(China Daily February 22, 2006)