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China wins silver in freestyle skiing mixed team aerials

By CUI JIA and LIU XUAN in Zhangjiakou, Hebei| China Daily| Updated: February 11, 2022 L M S


International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (center), committee member Zhang Hong (left) and Chinese snowboarder Liu Jiayu pose for a photo on Thursday after the women's snowboard halfpipe final of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

China clinched the silver medal in freestyle skiing mixed team aerials on Thursday at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, bringing its medal tally to three golds and three silvers at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

In the mixed team aerial event, which made its debut at the Beijing Games, Team China's two men-Jia Zongyang and Qi Guangpu-and woman-Xu Mengtao-entered the final with a total of 336.89 points in three jumps after taking the lead in the first round.

The teams of the United States, Canada and Switzerland also made it to the final round.

Attempting a jump with a degree of difficulty of 4.425, Jia, who was the second on the team to jump in the final round, made a mistake while landing and only scored 96.02 points. Christopher Lillis of the US made a perfect jump with a degree of difficulty of 5 and received 135 points-the top score of the evening. However, in the team's last jump, Qi scored 122.17-the second-highest score of the evening-and China missed out on the gold.

The US team won the first ever Winter Olympic gold in freestyle skiing mixed team aerials, and Canada took the bronze.

"I was just enjoying the competition without thinking much about the result," said 31-year-old Xu, a four-time Olympian and one of the most decorated Chinese athletes in the sport. Xu scored 106.03 for the team in her jump in the final round.

China had been the favorite to win the event, as the team had won four of the seven team events on the World Cup circuit, including at both events held this season.

Chinese athletes also made good attempts in other snow events on Thursday.

In the morning, Cai Xuetong finished fourth, with 81.25 points, her personal best, in the women's snowboard halfpipe event at Genting Snow Park.

Cai said after the finals that she planned to do a backside 900 in the third run, but she made an imperfect landing with the jump.

"I was focused on my own run. I wanted to put my best run into this, but unfortunately it didn't end up as the best," she said emotionally. "I really regret it, but I still hope my performance can inspire Chinese people to take part in the sport."

Cai's teammate Liu Jiayu, a silver medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, slipped in her first two runs but gave a smooth performance in the final run to receive 73.50 points and finish in eighth place.

"It was very positive to compete in China, and to let everyone know that China has not just summer, but also winter sports, and shares winter sports with everybody," Liu said.

"It can also show more Chinese and the outside world how much fun these sports are."

Chloe Kim from the US successfully defended her women's snowboard halfpipe title.