Cai Xuetong wins silver at 2019 FIS Freestyle World Championships
China's Cai Xuetong showcased a remarkable performance to win silver at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships, currently underway at Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah, U.S.
The Chinese snowboard champion was the winner of the last two women's snowboarding halfpipe competitions and was looking to making it three in a row. However, she faced stiff competition from the local favorite and reigning Olympic champion Chloe Kim.
The 25-year-old came third in the qualification round, and in a trip down the pipe she picked up 84 points which were her highest score of the final.
But that was still way off Kim who dazzled the crowd and the judges in her first run to score a massive 93.50 points. That was more than enough for the 18-year-old to claim her first World Championships gold.
Cai had to settle for silver while American Maddie Mastro got the bronze.
In the men's halfpipe, China's Zhang Yiwei made it to the final, but during his first run he landed his jump near the bottom of the wall and slipped before going on to score 61.25 points. Zhang increased the difficulty in his last two runs, but with worse results and ended up 8th.
For the third world championships in a row, the gold went to Australia's Scotty James who scored a ridiculous 97.50 points in his final run after already having notched up 94.25 in his first. Japan's Yuto Totsuka bagged the silver medal, and the bronze medal went to Patrick Burgener of Switzerland. Elsewhere, in the inaugural mixed team freestyle ski aerials, the Chinese team of Xu Mengtao, Wang Xindi and Sun Jiaxu stormed into the final.
Xu and Sun successfully completed their jumps in the first round, but Wang made a mistake. In the second round, all three Chinese did well and, particularly, Wang, who made up for the earlier error. China went on to win silver with 297.82 points.
The first World Championships gold ever awarded in the new event was eventually bagged by Switzerland while Russia clinched a bronze. The team event has been added to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics program, and China will start as one of the favorites to win the event.