Olympics: Abramenko wins aerials gold, Ukraine’s first in Pyeongchang

Abramenko: It's really unbelievable. I hoped to today take a medal, but I won gold. I'm really happy about this, it's the first medal in freestyle skiing for Ukraine.


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Oleksandr Abramenko was the final man standing in a crash-marred Pyeongchang Games freestyle skiing aerials on Sunday, the Ukrainian winning gold as one of only three to make a clean landing in the final round.

Abramenko’s 128.51-point final jump was good enough to give him gold ahead of Jia Zongyang of China (128.05) and Ilia Burov (122.17) from the Olympic Athlete from Russia team.

“It’s really unbelievable. I hoped to today take a medal, but I won gold. I’m really happy about this, it’s the first medal in freestyle skiing for Ukraine, so I’m just really happy. I don’t believe right now that I’ve won gold,” said Abramenko, who clinched the medal with a back full-full-double full jump.

“The final jump, I practiced just 15 times over the past months because last year I had a trauma. And this was one of the best times I have done it.”

Jia was the last man to jump, and he clearly thought his effort was enough for gold, but the judges disagreed and dealt him silver by a sliver, a decision the Sochi bronze man clearly disagreed with in the moment.

“Mostly I have regrets, but because I did my best I have to be satisfied with the result,” said Jia. “The other competitors were also very strong.”

The jumpers’ final-round tribulations were in stark contrast to the first two finals, which saw competitor after competitor landing perfect jumps, leading to some of the biggest names falling.

Reigning world champion Jonathon Lillis of the United States saw his run end in the second final as did that of China’s two-time world champion Qi Guangpu, who landed on the back of his skis and was considered not among the top six.

Australia’s David Morris did not even make it that far, as the Sochi silver and world bronze medalist was a shock early exit in the first final.


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