Onozuka and Blunck win gold medal in the last night finals in Sierra Nevada 2017
• Silver medalist in Sochi 2014 Marie Martinod resigns herself to a new silver medal, this time in the World Championships.
In the most technical discipline of Freestyle Ski, the best six ladies and ten men faced the halfpipe of the Andalusian ski resort. Each athlete had three attempts to obtain the highest score., with judges evaluating the tricks according to their amplitude, difficulty and landing, apart from the style.
Two familiar faces of Sierra Nevada's halfpipe, Ayana Onozuka and Aaron Blunck, were proclaimed tonight World Champions in Freestyle Ski four years later. The Japanese ended third back then, and the North American was fifth in the World Cup finals in 2013.
Over in the women's event, there were two main favourites for the gold, Marie Martinod (FRA) and Ayana Onozuka (JPN), and all predictions were fulfilled: the final was a duel between them, with a victorious Onozuka. The Japanese completed a consistent competition, scoring over 80 in her three runs. Her best attempt was the second one, when she got 89.80 points.
Ayana Onozuka, bronze medalist in Sochi 2014, and three-times podium in the World Cup this year, is proclaimed World Champion for the first time in her career. .
The Olympic silver medalist Martinod, who marked the best score during qualifications two days ago, went from highest to lowest and her best punctuation were the 87 points she scored in the first run. At the end of her last run, when she was nailing all the tricks, she made an imperfect last landing and lost any chances of surpassing Onozuka. Devin Logan (USA) got the bronze medal with 84.20.
Regarding men, there was a bit of a surprise because Aaron Blunck (USA) made a space for himself to edge Mike Riddle (CAN) and Kevin Rolland (FRA) off. Blunck performed high and very well executed tricks in his first run and the judges gave him 91.80 points, enough to become World Champion.
Blunck was a familiar face in Sierra Nevada, since he participated in the World Cup race held in Granada in 2013. The main favourites Riddle (89.60, silver) and Rolland (88.40, bronze) accompanied Blunck in the podium.