Olympic champion Xu disappointed with National Winter Games silver

Hohhot, Feb 24 (IANS): With regrets and tears, Beijing Winter Olympics champion Xu Mengtao finished her competition at China's 14th National Winter Games with a freestyle skiing aerials mixed silver here.

Xu delivered a commendable performance with a bFFF, scoring 93.58 points in the final round, the top score among female competitors. However, errors in landing by teammates Jia Zongyang and Wang Xindi affected their chances for gold, reports Xinhua.

Shao Qi and Li Boyan amassed scores of 90.09 and 120.36 points respectively for Team Inner Mongolia, securing first place before Sun Longxiao's concluding jump.

Li Tianma's flawless execution clinched a bronze for Team Jilin, achieving the day's highest score of 130.05 points, following teammate Sun Jiaxu's contribution of 96.39 points.

Having placed fifth in the women's aerials final on the 21st, Xu entered the competition with a determined mindset, aiming for gold. She executed the challenging bFFF in both runs, a feat she had not attempted since the Beijing Winter Olympics. After finishing the second round, Xu released the pressure with howls to the air.

The 120.36 points from Li Boyan piled pressure on Jia Zongyang as the Olympian's last run landing on back cost them the crucial opportunity turning the tide.

When Jia and Wang waited for the awarding ceremony in silence, Xu shouted out her discontent with anger and tears.

"Tomorrow is Jia's birthday, Wang and I should have claimed a gold for him," Xu said. "I didn't agree to play the individual game on the 21st because of the bad weather, which cost us no medals and piled on lots of pressure today."

Xu advocated for the women's aerials final to be delayed by three days instead of just 90 minutes, citing the windy conditions on the 21st. The competition began with temperatures around minus ten degrees Celsius, and wind speeds from the northwest reaching up to 18 meters per second.

Both Xu and Kong Fanyu led the preliminary rounds with scores of 94.82 points, but a fall in Xu's final jump resulted in a score of 78.96 points, dashing her hopes for an additional medal. Xu left the venue for the athletes' room immediately, not stopping for interviews.

Contrastingly, gold medalist Kong is already setting her sights on the Milan-Cortina 2026 Olympics, confident that her experience will be a valuable asset.

"Next challenge will definitely be the 2026 Winter Olympics. I need to get prepared well for that through consistent training in the next two years," Kong said.



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Title: Olympic champion Xu disappointed with National Winter Games silver

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