U.S. skiers have a fruitful but frustrating night as Kiley McKinnon, qualifies for the Olympic team

PARK CITY – The disappointment of missing the World Cup super final by three points still stung, when Kiley McKinnon learned her Olympic dream was a reality.

“I don’t even know how to explain it,” said the 22-year-old aerial skier after mathematically clinching her spot on the U.S. Olympic team with an eighth-place finish. “I didn’t get the results I was hoping for, but to make the Olympic team…Words can’t even describe how it feels.”

The U.S. team had three men and four women make the World Cup finals at Deer Valley Friday night, but only two women and one man made the super final, although it was by the slimmest margins.

The aerial final consists of 12 skiers who compete for six Super Final spots. Athletes cannot use the same jump in the different rounds of competition. Park City resident Ashley Caldwell qualified for the finals with the highest score and the second-toughest trick.

She competed in finals with the toughest jump for women, a triple twisting triple, and fell backward on the landing, which meant missing the Super Final by .13 of a point.

“I was training really well,” Caldwell said. “I got a full-double-full-full off which is a big deal doing the highest DD (degree of difficulty) out there. Doing this jump specifically, I …was moving just a little too fast, went a little too big and slapped back and got seventh.”

Caldwell decided even before the season started that she didn’t want to change her jumps based on what her competitors were landing. She felt it gave her the best chance at success to compete with her best jumps every time she stands on the hillside. “This is a tough sport,” she said. “I’m trying to get the most reward that I can because I’m physically competent enough and technically good enough to go out and do tricks that the guys do. That build up is tough. I’m going to take crashes. I wish that I look less crashes, and I wish I landed and won more events. But I’d rather be pushing myself every time.”

She said the Olympics will require the type of jumps she’s competing with to win.

“When the Olympics are on, you’re going to need 100 points, or over 100 points, so I’m positioning myself well so that I can have the degree of difficulty to do that. …I feel better every jump. I feel less scared. I perform …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

      

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