A brief word with the international champions at Deer Valley’s 2018 aerials World Cup | ParkRecord.com

A brief word with the international champions at Deer Valley’s 2018 aerials World Cup

China's Guangpu Qi, from left, Russia's Kristina Spiridonova, Russia's Maxim Burov, China's Mengtao Xu, China's Fanyu Kong and Belarus's Anton Kushnir celebrate second, first and third place finishes, respectively, during the Visa FIS Freestyle World Cup Aerials event at Deer Valley Resort Friday evening, January 12, 2018. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
Tanzi Propst |

It was a day of international success for competitors at the FIS Visa International Freestyle Ski World Cup aerials event on Friday.

In the men’s competition, Maxim Burov of Russia (center-left in yellow) finished first with a score of 131.67, followed by Guangpu Qi of China, 4, and Anton Kushnir of Belarus, 2.

It was Burov’s third time competing at Deer Valley Resort, but said Friday was not only his best performance in Utah, but the best of his life.

“In general he is a good athlete,” a coach said, translating for Burov. “And in training he is pretty good, but today he did the best he can do. He is very happy about it.”

It is his only first-place World Cup finish, a level he has competed in since 2015.

Now, Burov said, he plans to focus on the Olympics, which will be psychologically challenging for the 19-year-old as he competes with more experienced athletes.

But he plans to keep competing at a higher level going into the Games.

In women’s aerials, Mengtau Xu of China took first (center right in yellow), followed by Kristina Spiridonova of Russia, white bib 4, and Fanyu Kong of China, 31.

“I already did my best today; I had a good landing,” Xu said after taking first. “Amazing day.”

She said this season has been going very well for her, and she looks forward to staying on the podium.

The 27-year-old has been a force to be reckoned with on the World Cup circuit, earning podiums since 2006 and taking the title of World Champion in 2013.

Her performance was hampered by a knee injury in 2015, but she has come back to podium in every event she competed in since December of 2016.

She said this was her first event she broke out a triple jump at this season.

“There was a lot of pressure and nervousness on us,” she said. But it didn’t show in her performance, where her jump earned her 102.75 points and put her in the lead going into the super finals.

“I’m doing very well,” she said after winning. “Everything is great.”

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