Kiley McKinnon and Mac Bohonnon, both of Madison, CT, brought home both men’s and women’s overall titles and crystal globes for the first time ever since 1995.
MINSK, Belarus (March 1, 2015) – The U.S. aerials team closed out the 2015 season on a high note, with Ashley Caldwell (Ashburn, VA) jumping to her second World Cup win of the season and Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT) and Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) taking season titles, each finishing second. Bohonnon and McKinnon formally claimed their positions as the number one aerialists in the world, bringing home both men’s and women’s overall titles and crystal globes for the first time since 1995.
After putting up scores in the 80s in qualification and final number one, Caldwell bumped things up a notch in final number two, posting a 99.68 on her triple-twisting triple flip, 14 points higher than McKinnon’s second place score.
“We only jumped one day here before the contest day today, and I hadn’t done any triples at all, so I was kind of nervous” said Caldwell. “I went up and the first jump I did was nasty. But then the rest of the day I was just ripping into jumps and going big.”
Ashley Caldwell stands on the podium with Kiley McKinnon and Russia’s Veronika Korsunova.
It was Caldwell’s second World Cup win of the season, moving her into second position in the overall World Cup standings behind McKinnon.
“This is probably the most decorated season for U.S. aerials, it was incredible,” said Caldwell. “Not only were we winning all over the place, but our team is just having such a great time together. I’m so stoked after this season.”
McKinnon, who has been no stranger to the World Cup podium this season, executed a full, double full, her first one of the week, to land in second place.
“Tonight was the same plan as all my other World Cups,” said McKinnon. “I did full, full for my qualification and final one jump, and then did full, double full for the super final. The conditions were way better than we were expecting. Staff worked really hard to keep the site up to par and it ended up being a really awesome event.”
McKinnon’s crystal globe is the first for a U.S. woman since Nikki Stone brought home the title in 1998.
“It’s kind of hard to describe what just happened,” said McKinnon. “It’s been so long since a U.S. woman has gotten this globe. It just makes me feel so honored to represent the U.S.”
Coming off of his first two World Cup wins in Lake Placid and Moscow, the momentum was high for Bohonnon coming in to Minsk, and his performance did not disappoint.
“Unfortunately I did know how close I was to winning the globe, so I was pretty stressed out all day and just tried to eliminate that from my head,” said Bohonnon. “We only had one day of training and got used to it quick and had a good day. I’m psyched to get another podium.”
Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine (center) takes home the win in Minsk, with Mac Bohonnon in second and Denis Osipau of Belarus in third.
Bohonnon’s crystal globe is the first for the U.S. men since 2005 when Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson brought home the title.
“To win a globe is a dream come true,” said Bohonnon. “I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time. And to do it 10 years after Speedy did it feels really special. He was a huge influence on me and motivated me to get in to the sport of aerials.”
Jon Lillis (Rochester, NY) and Eric Loughran (Pelham, NH) finished ninth and 10th, rounding out the top 10 finishes for the U.S. men. Mike Rossi (Long Valley, NJ) finished 17th.
In addition to the aerials World Cup globes, the Nations Cup and Rookie of the Year title were also awarded to the U.S., with World Championship silver medalist Alex Bowen (Springville, NY) taking home the rookie title. Bowen has two top-10 World Cup finishes this season in addition to his silver medal at the World Championships, where he landed his first double full, full, full on snow.
Alex Bowen recieves the 2015 Rookie of the Year award.
“In the coaches meeting, they characterized Bowen as an athlete that really wows the rest of the coaches on tour,” said head coach Todd Ossian. “Alex certainly did that at World Championships, but he also did it at many events where he jumped really well. Before this season, people didn’t know who Alex Bowen was. Now he has all of the coaches on tour watching him closely.”
The multiple awards received at World Cup finals solidifies the U.S. aerials team as a rising power in the sport.
Coaches and athletes display all the trophies awarded to the U.S. aerial team at World Cup finals in Minsk, Belarus.
“We feel on top of the world right now,” said Ossian. “We are incredibly proud of our team. We still have a super young team and these guys are all getting better. To finish number one in the world as a team, it means a ton and it gives us even more motivation to work harder and do everything we can do to not just stay the best but to improve on our season.”
The team’s stars are products of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Elite Aerial Development Program started in 2008 to seek new athletes and compete more effectively against rising powers like China. Much of the team’s success is attributed to its unique summer training water ramps in both Lake Placid, NY and Park City, UT. The Park City facility at the Utah Olympic Park is presently undergoing a sophisticated renovation, the Big Air Project, to provide an even more valuable training facility for athletes.
Ashley Caldwell closed out her 2015 season with a win at the aerials World Cup in Minsk, Belarus.
Teammates Kiley McKinnon and Mac Bohonnon were also on the podium, each landing in second place.
McKinnon won the overall World Cup title for the women with 407 points. Caldwell was second in the standings with 324 points.
It was the first time a U.S. woman has won the crystal globe since Nikki Stone took home the title in 1998.
Bohonnon also won the overall World Cup title with 491 points, the first time a U.S. man has done so since Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson in 2005.
Alex Bowen was awarded Rookie of the Year. It was the fifth year in a row a U.S. athlete has received the award.
The U.S. team also received the Nations Cup for aerials, awarded to the team with the most World Cup points across all of its athletes.
Unfortunately I did know how close I was to winning the globe, so I was pretty stressed out all day and just tried to eliminate that from my head. But yeah, jumping went well. It was a tough site. We only had one day of training and got used to it quick and had a good day. Sasha jumped really well, and I’m psyched to get another podium.
I knew that Speedy was the last guy to win a globe for the U.S. in 2005. To win a globe is a dream come true. I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time. And to do it 10 years after Speedy did it feels really special. He was a huge influence on me and motivated me to get in to the sport of aerials. He was always someone I looked up to when I was trying to get into aerials. To think that I’m in a similar category as him, the last person who won a globe, is pretty special.
Todd Ossian, Aerials Head Coach
We feel on top of the world right now. We are incredibly proud of our team. As a coach, I have never coached a team that has won the overall aerials Nations Cup before, so I’m very proud of that accomplishment. We still have a super young team and these guys are all getting better. To finish number one in the world as a team, it means a ton and it gives us even more motivation to work harder and do everything we can do to not just stay the best but to improve on our season.
Individually today the event went really smooth. We were able to stick to our plans. Matt Saunders did an amazing job with the speeds. The athletes jumped incredible today. Having Ashley finish off her season with a win was obviously a great way to end the season for her. For Kiley and Mac to finish with podiums legitimizes how great their seasons were and really legitimizes the title for both of them.
In the coaches meeting, they kind of characterized Bowen as an athlete that really wows the rest of the coaches on tour. Alex certainly did that at World Championships, but he also did it at many events where he jumped really well. Before this season, people didn’t know who Alex Bowen was. Now he has all of the coaches on tour watching him closely.