Wilson revs it up for Silver in World Duals

By Caitlin Furin

Of usskiteam.com

SIERRA NEVADA, Spain – U.S. Ski Team athletes Brad Wilson of Butte, Montana,  and Jaelin Kauf of Alta, Wyoming, battled against the world’s best to capture silver and bronze in dual moguls at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships.

Wilson’s silver medal is the first World Championship medal of his career and the best World Championships result for the U.S. men’s mogul team since Patrick Deneen’s mogul win in 2009. It’s his third podium of the 2016-17 season.

On the men’s side, Japan’s Ikuma Horishima took the victory, with Wilson second and Marco Tade of Switzerland third. For the women, France’s Perrine Laffont took the win, as Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan was second and Kauf third.

Competitors were treated to more of the same course conditions they saw in Wednesday’s single moguls competition. The course was frozen solid in the morning and softened up throughout the afternoon, which meant the athletes got faster and faster with each run.

Wilson’s speed was an advantage for him throughout the day, carrying him through four rounds and into the big final where he met Horishima. Both Wilson and Horishima put the pedal to the metal, ripping down the course going for gold. About halfway down, they both blew out, diverting from their lines and barely making it over the bottom air. Wilson was first across the line, but the judges awarded Horishima with the win.

“I knew I had to smoke it and ski really well,” said Wilson. “In hindsight, I wish I had remembered that I was only a tenth slower than Ikuma yesterday, so if I would have just skied my run and not pushed the speed so much, it probably would have been enough. But duals is different. You’re in the moment, you just skied a run five minutes before and you have to go up for another and you don’t really have time to plan that kind of stuff. I knew I had to send it against Ikuma today and I did and unfortunately we both were just a little out of control. But I am really happy with second.”

“Being on the podium at World Champs is something that hasn’t really hit me yet,” continued Wilson “I’ve always wanted to do well here. It’s really nice to be able to go home with the silver. In the end, it’s just me having fun and enjoying mogul skiing.”

After missing the finals in yesterday’s individual mogul competition, Kauf rebounded and used her speed to her advantage, consistently beating her opponents across the line all day. She narrowly lost to Laffont in the semifinals before facing Korea’s Jee-Won Seo in the small final. Kauf’s fast skiing combined with a solid middle section secured her the bronze.

“Yesterday I wasn’t skiing like myself – I wasn’t skiing fast,” stated Kauf. “I knew today I just had to get back to how I was skiing and step it up. I felt my turns were good in the middle section and I stayed composed. There’s just something about duals; it gets your adrenaline pumping. I see the person in the gate next to me and I know I have to push it a little more. I don’t think about the technicality as much; I’m just thinking about getting down and beating whoever is next to me.”

Duals have been Kauf’s forte this season, with two podiums, including a win in Japan two weeks ago. Her strong results this season earned her a spot on the Worlds team and she flourished in her first appearance.

“I’ve looked forward to coming to a World Championships for a long time,” said Kauf. “It was a goal this season for me to make it here. To be here with our strong women’s team and make it on the podium is amazing. It’s great to know that I can be up there.”

Other top finishers for the USA included Tom Rowley of(Long Beach, New York, in seventh and Keaton McCargo of Telluride, Colorado, in eighth.
— Complies by Bruce Sayler.