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Heil wins freestyle dual moguls

1/30/2005

PARK CITY, Utah -- Jeremy Bloom was completely confident as
the last hope for the U.S. freestyle team.
The only American to make it past the quarterfinals in the dual
moguls Saturday, Bloom swept through to win his second World Cup
event in three days and give the U.S. team all three men's titles.
Bloom, who led a U.S. sweep in the individual moguls on
Thursday, beat Australia's Dale Begg-Smith in the final run
Saturday night at Deer Valley.
"I knew going into semis and the finals that my teammates had
gotten knocked off. So obviously I carried the weight of that on my
shoulder," Bloom said. "But I wouldn't want it any other way."
Bloom, the former University of Colorado receiver who gave up
football to concentrate on skiing and the 2006 Olympics, came
through for the home crowd.
Bloom was clean off both kickers, with a 720-degree "iron
cross," on the first and a quad twist off the second -- twisting
his skis four times high in the air and thrilling the crowd.
Begg-Smith finished slightly ahead, but the time difference wasn't
enough to make up for a slip at the top of the course by the
Australian, giving Bloom a 24-11 win on points.
"I saw him blow out in the middle. I actually slowed down,"
Bloom said. "At that point I wasn't worried about the speed
anymore."
Bloom went right after the women's final, when American Hannah
Kearney had a chance to win her first dual moguls against Canadian
Jennifer Heil, the duals points leader.
Kearney hung with Heil until the second kicker, when she took a
nasty fall on a back flip that didn't quite make it all the way
around. Kearney landed on her side and slid lifelessly several
yards down course. She stayed down for several minutes, but got up
and pumped her arms for the fans before walking the rest of the way
down.
Kearney, who had never placed in the top three in duals,
finished second. She also took third in the individual moguls on
Thursday.
"I'm really sore, but I'm alive," Kearney said. "I feel good
about my results and my skiing today, other than that last part."
The Czech Republic's Nikola Sudova finished third, beating
Norway's Kari Traa, the 2002 Olympic moguls gold medalist.
Janne Lahtela, who won the men's moguls at the 2002 Games, edged
Russia's Rusian Sharifulin for third.
Of the 16 finalists in the men's event, seven were Americans,
but the number was cut to two in a disastrous first round of the
finals. Travis Mayer, who fell to second behind Bloom in the dual
standings after falling in his first run of the final.
Nathan Roberts was the only other American to make it into the
quarterfinals and had to go head-to-head with Bloom, the top
qualifier. Roberts hung with Bloom through most of the course, but
slipped slightly when he landed off the second kicker and Bloom won
20-15.
The dual moguls competition wrapped up the three-day event,
which was dominated by the U.S. men's team. U.S. men won all three
events, with Bloom winning both moguls and Ryan St. Onge winning
the aerials Friday night.