KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Alla Tsuper of Belarus pulled off a stunning Olympic gold-medal win in women’s aerials.
Tsuper drilled 98.01 in the finals to beat a field that included defending Olympic champion Lydia Lassila of Australia and two-time Olympic medalist Li Nina of China.
Xu Mengtao of China won silver while Lassila earned bronze.
The 34-year-old Tsuper had never finished higher than fifth in four previous Olympics. She plans on retiring after the games to spend more time with her young daughter and hoped to go out “on a high.”
Tsuper went first during the four-skier final round and drilled her acrobatic leap. Nina and Lassila both botched their landings and when Mengtao struggled to hold on at the end of her jump, Tsuper began celebrating.
Emily Cook of Park City, Utah, a former student at Maine’s Carrabassett Valley Academy who is now competing in her third Olympics, took a hard landing in the second round of the finals and finished in eighth place overall.