With 41 Countries competing, the coveted OVERALL TEAM title challenge was one of the closest ever witnessed. The USA were the defending champions and took that title in Tianjin in China in 2005 with a comfortable margin of 649 points.
Having completed the Slalom, Tricks and Ladies Jump Finals, only one event remained and that was Mens Jump. At this stage, with over 8,000 points on the board for the top two performing teams, the actual difference was just seven points ! In percentage terms, the USA score of 8073.98 and the score of France at 8066.95 were just about equal.
The equivalent of a quarter of a meter in Jump distance was all that made the difference. The Belarus team impressed everybody with their depth of talent and lay in third place at 7806.34 points. When the last remaining athletes returned to the dock ninety minutes later, the final die had been cast. Only 20 points made the critical difference in the end. The Slalom strength of the USA gave them the much needed advantage over France who were stronger in Tricks and Jump in terms of points.
The well deserved 2007 Overall World Team Champions are the USA, with France and Belarus close behind. Frank Harrison, USA Team Manager, celebrated that 20 point advantage with the team and also with a great sense of relief and satisfaction.
The individual World Overall Champion title is an enormous test of fitness, skill and sheer endurance. Each athlete must accumulate high scores in Slalom, Tricks and Jump to stand a chance of success. The defending champions were Jimmy Siemers (USA) and Regina Jaquess (USA). This time around neither featured in the top three in this tough test. In the Ladies events, Clementine Lucine (FRA) was outstanding.
Having taken the Bronze Overall Medal in 2005 and set a World Overall Record, she performed at the highest level again on this occasion. Having already taken the Tricks Gold Medal, she took 7th in Slalom and finally took 6th in Jump. This was an unbeatable combination for the 2007 Ladies World Overall Champion. Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE), the 2007 World Jump Champion, and Elena Thomsen (SUI), the 2007 World Jump Silver Medalist, took second and third places.
The individual World Overall Mens battle was equally challenging. The highest scores this time around went to Marco Riva (ITA), Oleg Deviatovski (BLR) and Jaret Llewellyn (CAN). Llewellyn came 4th in the previous World Championships in China in Overall.
This time, the combination of his Silver Medal in Jump and 4th in Tricks was unbeatable. The standing ovation which he received at the Closing Banquet in Linz-Steyregg was a testament to both his achievements to date and his popularity as an athlete. With eleven World Records and 103 major titles to his credit, his performances were flawless in taking the 2007 World Overall title. Just 100 points behind in second place was Oleg Deviatovski (BLR), closely followed by Italy’s Marco Riva.
For all the results details, see http://www.iwsf.com
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Photo: Rémy Gros