Kushnir, Lassila win World Cup freestyle events

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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Overall leader Anton Kushnir won for the second time in four World Cup events Friday night, while Australia’s Lydia Lassila dominated the field for her first win in nearly a year at Deer Valley Resort.

Kushnir posted the best result in both legs of the event, landing two variations of a triple backflip with four rotations to move past China’s Qi Guangpu on the night’s final jump.

“Four starts and four podiums is a really good result for me,” said Kushner, who was second in Calgary and third in Changchun, China. “I feel good, a little bit tired, but it was really great.”

Dmitri Dashinski finished third, giving Belarus two podium finishers.

Lassila saved her most difficult jump for qualifying and led by enough of a margin to hold off a Chinese contingent that finished second through sixth, led by Xu Mengtao.

“I knew I had the lead, but the Chinese girls are so strong, and they put their jumps down like they always do,” said Lassila, a two-time Olympian.

“I’m not an Olympic medalist, and that’s something that I’ve been working for my entire life,” she said. “Everything seems to be going on track now, I just need to keep it going.”

Fourth-place finisher Guo Xinxin just missed her fourth podium of the season but retained the World Cup overall lead by 21 points.

American Dylan Ferguson was sixth among the men for his best World Cup finish. After qualifying eighth, Jeret “Speedy” Peterson failed to land his patented, five-twist Hurricane jump and was 12th.

“I don’t know what happened,” Peterson said. “I felt great, I saw the landing and I just stepped right out above my skis and ate a bunch of snow.”

Lacy Schnoor was ninth in the women’s competition, while Ashley Caldwell took 10th in just her second career World Cup event.

The aerial event next Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y., will be the last chance for U.S. athletes to lock up an Olympic berth. Peterson and Schnoor have already guaranteed their spots.