Scotty Bahrke gets the monkey off his back
"Pretty wild" was the way American aerialist Scotty Bahrke described the first World Cup victory of his career.
Bahrke, 26, the younger brother of freestyle skiing icon Shannon Bahrke, said he found himself atop the jump hill at Kreischberg, Austria, with teammate Dylan Ferguson in Friday’s Super Final round. The younger Bahrke had just completed the most difficult trick in his arsenal a variation of a quad-twisting triple flip to earn the top spot with three other athletes in the Super Finals.
"We were just hanging out at the top, chatting and relaxing," he said in a phone interview from Munich, Germany, Monday morning. "We just tried to take the pressure off ourselves."
Bahrke was the final competitor of the event Friday. His final jump was a back full double full full in the final round.
"I was standing up at the top with no one left," he said. "Being the last one to go was cool."
He landed firmly on his feet to win the first World Cup of his career. It was his second career World Cup podium.
Bahrke and Ferguson, both Park City residents, smiled as they stood on the podium next to each other. Ferguson’s third-place finish in Kreischberg was his second podium in less than a month. The 23-year-old took silver at the Visa Freestyle World Cup stop in Park City on Feb. 3.
It was the first time since March 2005, when Jeret "Speedy" Peterson and Joe Pack starred at Mt. Buller in Australia, that the U.S. team had two men on the aerials podium.
"Having my first win, obviously, was amazing," Bahrke said. "To have Dylan up there, it couldn’t have been any better."
Bahrke went into the final round of 12 competitors ranked ninth after his first jump. But his second jump, which wowed the crowd and judges, catapulted him into the No. 1 slot for the Super Finals. He said the prospect of not qualifying for the last round was much more nerve-wracking than being the last competitor to fly in the Super Finals, knowing a milestone was within grasp.
"The last four people are going to do nice jumps," he said. "In the Super Final, I was just trying to relax and take it easy. I tried to have a smile up top and not get worked up about the position I was in."
No strangers to success on the hill, the Bahrkes eventually learned of Scotty’s triumph via social networking as his multiple attempts to phone home failed.
"My family was ecstatic," he said. "It was also my grandfather’s 92nd birthday, so that was great. I tried to call everybody right away, but nobody picked up their phones all my calls were dropped."
The FIS Freestyle World Cup tour now rolls on to Belarus, where Bahrke will look to turn his inaugural win into a winning streak.
Bahrke said that the monkey is, finally, off his back.
"It’s definitely off," he said, laughing. "Now, I can just keep focusing on having fun up there and trying to focus on what I can control.
"I’m just going to try to do the same thing. Have a good time and not worry about the outcome until it happens."
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