Comeback mum jumps to third World Cup gold
SKIING: Lydia Lassila's fairytale comeback has continued with her third aerial skiing World Cup gold medal of the season from five meets.
The 35-year-old Olympic gold medallist and mother of two was again rock solid throughout the competition in Moscow, leading from the outset before cracking the century barrier as the last to jump in the super final scoring 100.11 ahead of China's Xu Mengtao.
Ahead of the world championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain this week, Lassila finished third on the overall World Cup standings with 354 points behind Xu Mengtao (480 points) and Danielle Scott (447 points).
A 2010 Winter Olympic champion, Lassila had not competed for three and a half years before her return to the sport last year.
"We didn't get lots of training in Moscow, but I felt like I knew what I was doing tonight. It's nice to get that quality back," Lassila said of her three strong jumps.
"I wanted to come here and win. It's rewarding when you think you can do something and then go do it."
She was joined on the podium by fellow Aussie and 2015 world champion Laura Peel who took bronze and her first medal this season.
Peel, who suffered a near career-ending injury that kept her out of the 2015/16 season, said she "wanted to put it all out there".
"Tonight is a confidence booster. The format at world championships is slightly different with three different jumps after qualifying instead of two. I've now successfully competed both versions of my triple twisting double and I will need both next week."
For Scott, the overall title she wanted was so near.
The world standing leader coming into the event also made the final six and was unlucky not to have made the landing, leaving her in fifth place. Scott had to settle for an overall second - matching her result from last season.
"It's heartbreaking," a disappointed Scott said of the final jump of the season that cost her the overall world title.
"The jump was perfect. I placed my feet down and there was nothing wrong - the landing just didn't happen."
Though heartbroken, Scott says that "It's been a good season. I will have to put my head down for next week."
The Flying Kangaroos Aerial Skiing Team results throughout the 2016/17 season has been one of the most successful on record with every team member making the podium at least once.
The Flying Kangaroos will join the mogul skiers, snowboarders, ski cross and slopestyle athletes in Sierra Nevada, Spain for the World Championships, which begin on Wednesday, March 8 with mogul skiing.
The qualifying round for Aerial Skiing World Championships will be held on Friday, March 10 with the finals at 4.30am (AEST) on Saturday, March 11.