The Chinese dominated the fourth women’s World Cup halfpipe contest over the weekend, with Chinese women making a clean sweep of the podium places. Xuetong Cai beat her compatriots Zhifeng Sun and Xu Chen to take first, with a run that included back to back 540s and back to back sevens. Despite having competed at just four World Cup events, Ms Xuetong beat exprienced halfpipe competitors on her way to the win in Stoneham, Quebec.
The result boosts the three ladies’ chances of qualifying for the Chinese Olympic squad, and acts as a statement of intent ahead of the Vancouver Olympics next month. Chinese riders, although relatively unknown outside of their home country, are widely expected to make a big impact at the games, especially in the women’s halfpipe contest.
In the men’s event in Stoneham, competition was as fierce as it has been in all of this year’s FIS comps, with riders vying for vital Olympic qualification points. Finland’s Janne Korpi narrowly beat Canadian Jeff Batchelor and fellow Finn Antti Autti to take the top podium spot.
While many of the world’s best halfpipe riders weren’t at the contest – including the Americans who were battling it out in their own domestic qualifiers – the standard of riding was still high. Second-placed Batchelor ensured his spot at the Vancouver games, which included back to back 9s and a backside 10, and Janne Korpi upped his chances of making the cut for Finland. Meanwhile Zeng Xiaoye, China’s top male rider, finished 5th in the competition, showing his potential with a strong run.