Rochon 3rd at aerials event, remains World Cup leader
A third-place finish kept Canadian Olivier Rochon in control of the overall World Cup aerials title.
The skier from Gatineau, Que., captured the bronze medal in a men's freestyle aerials World Cup event on an artificial ramp Saturday. That left Rochon tops in the overall standings with just one more event to go.
"Throughout the season I really haven't been thinking about the yellow bib and the crystal globe [presented to the overall leader]," Rochon said. "Now that it's so close, I have to let myself think about that.
"But it's not over until it's over."
The World Cup freestyle meet is scheduled for March 17 in Myrkdalen-Voss, Norway.
China's Jia Zongyang captured the men's event with 124.89 points for his jump to claim his third World Cup win this season. Denis Osipau of Belarus was second with 116.06 while Rochon finished third with 114.39.
The night event drew about 20,000 spectators to the downtown Moscow scaffolding upon which the jumps were built.
"I've got to say I love it here," Rochon said. "The people, the crowd, the energy it brings to the competition.
"The Russians definitely put up the standards for a World Cup, it's kind of like the Olympics. You know when I know there's a big crowd all watching me it gets me pumped, like it's my time to shine."
And heading into the final event of the season, Rochon isn't planning to take a conservative approach.
"I'm going to try to do the best I can do," he said. "Usually when I do that, it gets me to where I want to go."
Kong Fanyu won the women's event. She performed an almost clean jump and got 96.05 to claim her first career World Cup win.
"I'm very happy with presentation today," said Kong Fanyu. "It's my first World Cup win and I hope to continue to jump on this high level."
World Cup leader Xu Mengtao scored 94.29 points for second, and Cheng Shuang was third with 90.41.
Rochon leads the aerials standings with 514 points from nine of 10 events. Zongyang is second, 78 points behind. Thomas Lamber of Switzerland is third with 374 points.
Xu Mengtao tops the women's standings with 560 points. She is followed by Olga Volkova of Ukraine with 480 points and defending World Cup champion Cheng Shuang with 440.