The aerials athletes started their World Cup season in Secret Garden, China on Saturday, December 16, on the very spot where the Beijing Olympics will be held in 2022. The athletes were the first FIS members to compete on the new Olympic site.
Braving frigid and windy conditions, Lewis Irving snagged his first podium win in his World Cup career with a third-place finish. It was a relief for Irving, who was coming back from an injury that had kept him sidelined for half of the 2016/17 season. “It feels awesome. This is my first podium, so hopefully more to come. It feels great – I am lost for words right now!” said Irving immediately after the medals ceremony. “My strategy for today was to focus jump by jump and stay in the moment, get the scores that I get, and just keep going.” This game plan seems to have paid off for the young Quebec City native who, we will recall, was named FIS freestyle rookie of the year in 2016.
With the Olympic selection process in full swing, this podium finish comes at a good time for Irving. “Our Olympic qualification process is very long, but this definitely helps and takes some weight off for the rest of the season,” he said.
The skiers now get to enjoy a few hours of downtime before they return to the competition venue on Sunday, where a somewhat different scenario awaits them. That event will be split into two parts: the first, a qualification round with a jump that will determine World Cup points and the second, a team competition – the only one of the season.
Canadian athletes’ results:
Men: Lewis Irving (3), Olivier Rochon (12), Félix Cormier-Boucher (32)
Ladies: Catrine Lavallée (17)