Alex Bellemare Wins PyeongChang Olympic Test Event
Canadian FreeStyle Ski Association – The victory is Bellemare’s first career FIS World Cup win
PyeongChang, Korea – Alex Bellemare (Saint-Boniface) came out victorious today in PyeongChang, Korea, after he topped all other slopestyle skiers with a score of 93.60 to capture the FIS World Cup also being held as an Olympic Test Event in Bokwang Phoenix Park.
Bellemare’s score edged out Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut who finished with 93.00. American Josiah Wells rounded out the top-three with a score of 92.80. A total of 10 skiers made it to the finals after the top-five from each qualifications heat won a spot. Canadian Evan McEachran (Oakville, ON) finished with 76.80 in the finals, good enough for ninth.
“All the pressure was off from me as soon as I made the finals,” said Bellemare.
“I was skiing to have fun out there and it worked well. The course was just so awesome and it’s way different from anything else we’ve ever seen. The jumps are really cool. I was super clean throughout the whole run and it made a difference. This definitely helps my confidence and I can only hope I can ski as well as I did today.”
The victory comes just under two years before the next Winter Olympic Games and is the first FIS World Cup win for the 22-year-old Bellemare in only his eighth attempt in slopestyle.
“It’s a great sign for the future to do so well at an Olympic test event, but I am trying to not let it go to my head because so much can happen in two year until the Olympic Games,” added Bellemare, who had previously never visited Korea. “It’s good to know what the course will look like though and that it’s designed so well. I’m happy with my performance today because I fought back from my early mistakes. I fell on some easy tricks during my first two runs. I knew I could do them and score a lot higher. I stayed calm and did what I wanted to do on my third and final run when it counted most.”
The course layout and the hospitality provided to the athletes have received rave reviews from both skiers and coaches alike.
“It’s my first time in Korea and it’s amazing here,” said defending Olympic champion, Dara Howell (Huntsville, ON). “They built such a crazy course and it’s really cool to be here. The event was really unique and we’ve never seen anything like it. The course is really playful and there’s some side jumps on the last feature, which is different. So many aspects of the course have never been done before and I think it got many people excited to compete here again.”
Only six women qualified for the final and Howell’s score of 77.60 left her in fourth right behind Sweden’s Emma Dahlstrom (81.00). Norway’s Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen grabbed first with a score of 91.60 and American Maggie Voisin came second with 84.60.
Canadian Yuki Tsubota (Whistler, BC) finished fifth with a score of 75.40 and was happy to be ok after a scary fall.
“I was happy with my last run, but I wish I did it the first time to put less pressure on myself,” said Tsubota. “I took a bad fall during my first run and I think it scared me. It was a smaller fall to what I had in Sochi and it kind of spooked me out. I had a great week of training and trained really well this morning too. I still loved the course though. I hope all courses become like this in the future.”
Upcoming Events in February
- FIS World Cup – Feb 20 – Minsk – Aerials
- FIS World Cup – Feb 20-21 – Korea – Slopestyle
- X Games – Feb 24-25 – Oslo – Big Air, Halfpipe
- FIS World Cup – Feb 27-28 – Tazawako – Moguls/Dual Mogul