CYPRESS MOUNTAIN, BC Australia's Lydia Lassila won women's aerials gold Thursday, sticking two of the night's most difficult jumps for a score of 214.74 as China's Nina Li and Xinxin Guo claimed silver and bronze. Lacy Schnoor (Draper, UT) led three U.S. finalists in ninth. Ashley Caldwell (Hamilton, VA) followed in 10th, with Emily Cook (Belmont, MA) taking 11th.
"It's the Olympics and I made the finals and landed two jumps in the finals," said Schnoor, who won the Olympic Trials. "I couldn't ask for more.
"It's been such an exciting experience. Being around the most awesome athletes has been the most exciting thing for me. I don't know if this is my last Olympics, we'll see, but this one is probably the best."
Schnoor said she will compete another year and see how she feels for a run at Sochi in 2014. Also making a decision about whether to vie for another Games will be three-time Olympian Emily Cook, who made her first final despite nursing a heel injury.
Cook slapped back on her first jump but stuck her second to walk out with her head held high.
"It's a two-jump contest always, and you have to do your best on every jump," Cook said. "I was disappointed of course with my first jump, so I had the opportunity to put down one more good one, and I’m very happy that I did that."
Caldwell, just 16 years old, stomped two consistent jumps in her first Olympic action, even if she was already looking ahead to her next chance at the podium.
"I'm looking forward to more World Cup competitions and Sochi," Caldwell said. "My coach told me I wasn't allowed to think ahead until the competition was over, but once I landed, I immediately started thinking about Sochi."
It was the first time American women appeared in the aerials finals since 1998 in Nagano, when Nikki Stone won gold.
Schnoor said the opportunity to compete with her teammates was the highlight for her.
"It was so fun," she said. "We train together and have been together the last eight years, so just to have this experience is a good one for me."
The men's aerials final begins at 6 p.m. tomorrow, with Jeret Peterson (Boise, ID) and Ryan St. Onge (Winter Park, CO) representing Team USA.
OFFICIAL RESULTS 2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES Whistler Olympic Park – Feb. 24 Women's Aerials Finals
Join the U.S. Ski Team Fan Club Want to show your support for the U.S. Ski Team? Check out the new U.S. Ski Team Fan Club.
Text Your Support Fans of the U.S. Ski Team can now show their support through a text message donation through GFFan Live. Simply text the word USA to 20222 on your mobile phone to make a $10.00 donation, which will appear on your mobile phone bill. Click here to learn more.