China's aerial skier Xu Mengtao, together with her teammates Qi Guangpu and Jia Zongyang, claimed silver in the team aerials at the Freestyle Aerial World Cup on Sunday in Chongli district of northern China's Zhangjiakou.
Xu Mengtao said she felt regret but was still satisfied with her performance in the first two stops of the Freestyle Ski Aerial World Cup, both held in Chongli district, one of the sites where the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.
The winner of the second stop was decided by just one jump. The 27-year-old Xu earned 87.42 points with a back, double-full, and full, getting another silver medal. The gold medal went to Australian aerial skier Danielle Scott, who earned 100.11 points with the same set of flips as Xu.
"Each jump counts, and each jump helps by building up self-confidence," Xu said.
Xu ranked first in both the qualification and the first final round in the first stop, but she didn't make a flawless landing in the back, double-full, or full in the second final round, thus she failed to make it to the top place of the podium on Saturday.
"It's a pity I didn't finish quite as well in my last jump, but now I know what to do in future training," said Xu.
Xu, runner-up of the women's freestyle skiing aerial at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is looking forward to the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and observers say she's ready for her third Winter Olympic journey.
"She doesn't need a World Cup title to prove herself; it's more about a test of her status. Also, the windy weather has a lot of influence," said Meng Chunyuan, director of the athlete training department at the Shenyang Institute of Physical Education, who has paid close attention to Xu's training.
"I think I've made improvements in landing stability and I just landed awkwardly six times in a one-month training in Arshaan. Also, I began to practice the triple flip jump again," Xu said.
Xu and her teammates trained in north China's Arshaan for a month in November.
"My parents are here too, and their presence gives me more power," Xu said, smiling. "I asked them to watch my competition through window in the room, but they refused. It's quite cold and windy, they must have suffered a lot."
In the Secret Garden, the outdoor temperatures are about minus 10 to 15 Celsius in the daytime.
Xu Xuejun and Wang Fengli, Xu Mengtao's parents, insisted to watch their daughter compete outdoors.
"It's the third time have I watched her compete, the last time she fell while landing in Urumqi in the Chinese National Winter Games," Said Wang Fengli.
Xu fell on her jump in the women's freestyle aerials final while landing in January 2016, and the cruciate ligaments on her left knee were ruptured, which cost her almost a year in recovery time. There are still two steel nails in her knee.
"We were distressed and worried about her then. We are still nervous watching her compete, but we wish her a good performance and no injuries," added Wang.
"She's got a lot of titles, but the Olympics is her dream and she said she would fight for it," said Xu Xuejun. "We shall not go to Pyeongchang, it would be too stressful for her, but we will watch it on television," she promised.
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