The Top Contenders: Men's Aerials
5 January 2018
AERIAL SKIING: David Morris claimed Australia’s first men’s Aerials medal at Sochi and will be looking to go one better at PyeongChang. We take a look at the contenders for the high flying competition at the 2018 Winter Games.
Morris knows how to perform when it counts. Despite not making the World Cup podium last season, Morris flew to the bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships for his biggest result since claiming Sochi silver. With plenty of Games experience under his belt, Morris has been perfecting a jump only a few athletes can pull off in a bid to return to the podium come PyeongChang.
Zongyang Jia & Guangpu Qi (China)
In seven events on the World Cup circuit last season, Guangpu secured two victories and three second place finishes to highlight his credentials as one of the world’s best. Looking to win his third straight World Championship gold in 2017, Guangpu finished with the silver medal in Sierra Nevada. Zongyang finished fourth at the 2017 World Championships but has started the 2017/18 World Cup season in fine form taking out both of the opening events on home soil in December. It would not be surprising if both of the Chinese high flyers are in the four-man Super Final come PyeongChang.
Jonathon Lillis (USA)
The man to break Guangpu’s historic run, Lillis became the fourth man from the USA to become Aerials World Champion in 2017. The 23-year-old claimed sixth and 20th in the opening two World Cup events at the home of the 2022 Olympic competition but knows how to perform on the big stage as he goes on the hunt for USA’s second Aerials Winter Olympic gold medal.
Anton Kushnir, Maxim Gustik & Stanislau Hladchenko (Belarus)
Kushnir headlines a trio of Belarusians that could all be in the hunt when the medals are decided in South Korea. The defending Olympic Champion won three World Cup events last season, finished third at the second event of the 2017/18 season and has the tricks in his repertoire to top the leader board at any event he competes in. Gustik finished seventh at the 2017 World Championships, claimed two podium finishes in the 2016/17 World Cup season and has started the final stretch to PyeongChang with a silver at Secret Garden, Beijing. Hladchenko was the best of the Belarussians at the 2017 World Champs where he finished fifth and also won his second ever world Cup medal, a silver, last season.