Mac Bohonnon (right) stands alongside Anton Kushnir (BLR) and Qi Guangpu (CHN) on the podium at the Olympic test event for PyeongChang 2018. (Getty Images – Clive Mason)
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Feb. 10, 2017) – The world’s best aerials athletes put the 2018 Olympic site to the test, working through windy conditions to put on a show and demonstrate their sport 364 days ahead of opening ceremonies. Mac Bohonnon (Madison, CT) proudly led the U.S. Ski Team aerials squad, landing his second podium finish of the season with a third place.
Jumping on a new aerial site is an exciting opportunity, but with new sites you never know what conditions you’re going to encounter. The aerials teams battled with wind all week at the Bokwang Phoenix Park resort, resulting in shorter training sessions and difficulty determining speeds. Bohonnon, who jumped against a stacked field competing with difficult jumps, worked with his coaches to lay down three solid jumps.
“As always, our coaches absolutely crushed it,” stated Bohonnon. “I can’t thank them enough for getting the speeds right. With how deep the field is out here, you need to put down good jumps all day long. If you make one mistake, you probably aren’t going to make it in to the next round. To come out here and land all three of my jumps well is a challenge in itself, and to land on the podium feels awesome.”
Bohonnon’s super final jump was a double full, full, full, earning him a score of 116.74. Belarusian Anton Kushnir, the defending Olympic gold medalist, landed his third win of the season with a full, double full, full and a score of 119.47. China’s Qi Guangpu was second with a score of 118.55. Brother’s Chris and Jon Lillis (Rochester, NY) were the other top Americans, finishing eighth and ninth respectively.
On the women’s side, the strong Chinese team swept the podium. Xu Mengtao took the win, with her teammates Shen Xiaoxue and Yang Ya in second and third. Kiley McKinnon (Madison, CT) was the top U.S. women’s finisher, landing seventh. She competed a full, full for a score of 83.47
“We didn’t have great training leading into the competition day, so being able to put down my two competition jumps is a big positive for me,” said McKinnon “I would have liked to do better, but I’m happy with how I performed and ready to move on to the next World Cup.”
With strong jumpers on both the men’s and women’s teams, some of the U.S. aerialists who competed in the test event will return to jump on the Phoenix Park air site next year for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. And while the environment will most certainly be a little different, it was beneficial for the athletes to get a taste of the new site.
“It’s always interesting jumping at a new air site,” said McKinnon. “To be able to come to the Olympic test event and see what PyeongChang is all about see that they’re able to put on an awesome event is great, and I hope to be back here again next year.”
The FIS Freestyle World Cup and Olympic test event continues Saturday with men’s and women’s moguls.
Mac Bohonnon landed a third place podium at the official test event for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Bohonnon landed a double full, full, full for a score of 116.74.
Belarus’ Anton Kushnir took the win for the men. China’s Qi Guangpu was second.
Chris and Jon Lillis landed in the top 10, finishing eighth and ninth.
Kiley McKinnon was the top U.S. women’s finisher, landing a full, full for a score of 83.47 and a seventh place finish.
China swept the women’s podium with Xu Mengtao in first, Shen Xiaoxue in second and Yang Ya in third.
The test events continue Saturday, Feb. 11, with a men’s and women’s moguls event.
As always, our coaches absolutely crushed it. I can’t thank them enough for getting the speeds right. With how deep the field is out here, you need to put down good jumps all day long. If you make one mistake, you probably aren’t going to make it in to the next round. To come out here and land all three of my jumps well is a challenge in itself, and to land on the podium feels awesome.
The site is awesome. It feels like an Olympic site. I’m psyched to be on the podium at this venue. It’s been a great season so far and excited to keep the ball rolling.