|MOSCOW, Russia (March 1) - The U.S. Ski Team's Emily Cook (Belmont, MA) picked up her first World Cup win Saturday night, flying off a towering scaffold under challenging weather conditions in downtown Moscow. |
Cook, fourth after the first jump, won under the most challenging of conditions when many of the top World Cup contenders faltered. Heavy winds, low snow and very little training were all factors. The 2006 Olympian stayed focused and hit two of the best jumps of her career.
Incredible Feeling of First Win
"This is an incredible feeling," said a jubilant Cook in the finish. "I knew that someday my first World Cup win would happen. It's really rewarding to go out and perform your best and be on the top of the podium. I was shocked. Really and truly, you just focus on your jumps and take it one jump at a time. I was at the bottom and had no idea I had won."
"Emily just did a super job," said U.S. Freestyle Head Coach Jeff Wintersteen. "She did the absolute best she's ever done - two great jumps in difficult conditions. She clearly had the two best women's jumps of the night."
Cook went out on her first jump with a full-full, two flips with a twist on each flip. But knowing that the strong headwinds would continue, Cook and coaches strategized to go more conservative on the second jump to ensure a podium.
Strategic Decision Leads to Victory
"It was a strategic idea to downgrade her on her second jump just to get a top three," said Aerial Coach Matt Christensen. "It turned out perfectly. She jumped perfectly and just blew everyone away to take the win."
Cook's second jump, a lay-full including two flips with a twist on the second, was executed nearly perfectly to ensure the win.
"We had a huge headwind all day and not enough inrun speed," said Cook. "We were just trying to figure out how to get the speed we needed. I had planned on full-double full-full on the second jump. When I headed up, Matt said we were still on. But at the top, we decided to be smart and make the wise choice. And it worked.
"And we'll definitely be ready to throw big DD next week!"
It has been a long road for Cook whose quick rise early in her career was cut short with a horrible accident just prior to the 2002 Olympics. She shattered both feet and ankles training in Lake Placid. Many surgeries later, she came back to compete in Torino in 2006. But a win had eluded her.
The FIS Freestyle World Cup now heads to Davos, Switzerland for the final aerial event of the season next Friday.
FIS Freestyle World Cup
Moscow, Russia - March 1, 2008
1. Emily Cook, Belmont, MA, 160.41
2. Deidra Dionne, Canada, 159.28
3. Xin Zhang, China, 156.51
4. Alla Tsuper, Belarus, 154.88
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Image by NordicFocus