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Gu Ailing claims 2nd straight World Cup win to start season

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-16 16:28
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WASHINGTON -- China's Olympic champion Gu Ailing, also known as Eileen Gu, clinched her second consecutive title to start the FIS Freeski Halfpipe World Cup season at Copper Mountain on Friday.

Following her victory at Genting Snow Park in North China's Chongli, 20-year-old Gu stomped all three of her runs, with each one scoring well into the 90-point range.

Gu Ailing of China competes during the women's halfpipe qualification at FIS Freeski World Cup in Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei province, Dec 7, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The best came from Gu's second run, where she earned a score of 95.75 for her ninth straight World Cup halfpipe victory.

"I'm so grateful to be here today," said Gu, who's battling through a shoulder injury. "Every day that I have on snow whether it's just making finals or being on the podium or winning any contests, I never take anything for granted. I'm grateful for every single win that I have and I'm as hungry as ever. Let's keep it going!"

American freeskier Hanna Faulhaber finished runner-up with 92.00 points, while Zoe Atkin of Britain rounded out the podium in 91.00.

On the men's side, Alex Ferreira also notched his second straight victory of the season and led a US sweep of the podium.

Ferreira's first run scored him 97.00 points that would hold throughout the rest of the competition.

"It was an absolutely amazing day," Ferreira said. "To be able to ski like I did today and do my absolute best in front of all these fans is unbelievable."

Following up Ferreira in second was Hunter Hess with 95.00 points, and Birk Irving came third in 92.50.

Big Air World Cup action gets underway at Copper Mountain on Saturday.

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