Freestyle Skiing Medal Favorites at the 2010 Winter Olympic
Freestyle skiing is one of the most popular Winter Olympic sports to watch. You can count on the medal favorites to deliver amazing performances. Team USA has traditionally dominated the freestyle events, but this dominance is slipping. In Torino, 10 different countries won freestyle medals. These are some of the freestyle skiers to watch closely in Vancouver.
Dale Begg-Smith (Australia) is hoping to repeat the gold he won in Torino. Unfortunately, he’ll only have two months to get prepared after a recent ACL injury.
Patrick Deneen (USA) is the reigning World Champion, but his win was a surprise for everyone. He has never even won a World Cup event. Deneen is extremely talented but he isn’t consistent.
Alexandre Bilodeau (Canada) won the 2009 World Cup overall mogul championship as well as the final four events of 2009. Bilodeau is Canada’s best hope for freestyle gold. Unfortunately, Bilodeau has choked in the past at the Olympics and the world championships.
Hannah Kearney (USA) has had an up and down career thus far. She went from winning the World Mogul Championships in 2005 to finishing a dismal 22nd at the Olympics in 2006. After rebounding from that and an ACL injury, Kearney bounced back to win the overall World Cup title in 2009. Consistency is her biggest challenge.
Jennifer Heil (Canada) is expected to take mogul gold in Vancouver. She is the reigning Olympic champion and she has remained a consistent leader. She has amassed 42 World Cup medals, and four medals at the World Championships. With the home field advantage, this is her race to lose.
Li Nina (China) medaled in the 2006 Olympics and has won three World Championships. She is hoping to bring home China’s first skiing gold.
Lydia Lassila (Australia), the 2009 World Cup overall aerials champion, has been a strong competitor for years. She has a great technical ability, but is prone to injury.
Jeret Peterson (USA) missed out on a medal at Torino, but is hoping to make up for that in Vancouver. He is consistently in the running, but he has yet to medal in an international event.
Steve Omischl (Canada) is a powerhouse. He has 11 World Cup victories, two World Championship medals, and 3 World Cup overall titles. Although he performed poorly in the last Olympics, he is hoping that the recent successes will translate into an Olympic medal.
Ryan St. Onge (USA) had the best year of his career in 2008-2009. He managed several World Cup victories, a third national title, and the World Championship. He is hoping to ride the wave of success all the way through the Olympics.
Ophelie David (France) has dominated the ski cross tour. David is one of many former Olympic alpine skiers who have made the transition to ski cross. David has won six World Cup ski cross titles and won 31 World Cup medals.
Karin Huttary (Austria) is another medal favorite. She won the silver at the 2009 World Championships and has performed well in World Cup competition. If she can stay consistent through the many heats of ski cross, she strong chance of medaling.
Tomas Kraus (Czech Republic) has won the World Cup overall titles four times in the last few years. Kraus is another alpine skier to make the transition into ski cross. He will be hard to beat in Vancouver.
Casey Puckett (USA) is the highest ranking American in the ski cross tour. He competed in four Olympics as a alpine skier (finishing well out of the medals). He hopes to improve on that performance in the ski cross.
Daron Rahlves (USA) was one of the most decorated American skiers (with three World Championships). Even with his success, Rahlves wasn’t’ able to bring home an alpine Olympic medal. Rahlves made the switch ski cross and is doing very well on the circuit.