January 19, 2013

Freestyle skiers from China won the men's and women's World Cup aerials competition Friday.

Mengtao Xu captured the women's title under the lights at the Olympic Ski Jump Complex, and Zongyang Jia took the men's title to lead an impressive performance by the Chinese team, which also won two silvers in the event. Yu Yang placed second for the women and Guangpu Qi was the men's runner-up.

An American and an Australian also reached the podium. United States Ski Team veteran and two-time Olympian Emily Cook won the women's bronze medal and David Morris finished third for the men to earn the first World Cup medal of his career.

Xu and Jia headed into Friday's aerials contest as the World Cup points leaders and solidified their hold at the top of the standings.

The victory was the third straight in Lake Placid for Xu, who captured both competitions held there a year ago. She also took first place a week ago when the World Cup aerials tour stopped in Val Saint Come, Quebec.

Jia also took first in one of the two World Cup aerials contests held in Lake Placid in January 2012.

The competition included three rounds. The men's contest started with a field of 35, with the top 12 moving onto the second round. The four highest-scoring aerialists then moved onto the super final round to determine the medalists. Twenty-five athletes started in the women's opening round.

In addition to Cook, three more U.S. skiers advanced from the opening qualifying round. Michael Rossi and Madison Olsen both placed ninth, respectively in the men's and women's competitions and Dylan Ferguson placed 12th.

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