Jump worthy of gold
Belarusian freestyle aerial Maxim Gustik wins FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup fifth stage, hosted by Deer Valley
By Igor Grishin
After initially being placed 10th among 12 finalists, Maxim Gustik, aged 24, finished fifth among the top 12 freestyle aerial jumpers in the second stage of the selection round for the final eight. He came first in the third stage (from eight finalists) and then reached the top four. During the final stage, he came first, outstripping Travis Gerrits of Canada, Michael Rossi from the USA and Chinese Jia Zongyang. Gustik’s previous highest World Cup achievement was second place in Austrian Kreischberg in February of last year.
Three more Belarusian aerial ski jumpers also took part in the Deer Valley event. Vancouver-2010 Olympic champion Alexey Grishin returned from a long-term spinal injury and reached the penultimate stage of the tournament. In the first qualification round, he came third. However, sixth place in the second and third rounds was insufficient to earn him a position in the super-final four.
Dmitry Dashchinsky — who took silver in the Turin Olympics of 2006 and bronze in Nagano in 1998 — finished 11th among the top 12, after coming 4th in the qualification round. Another Belarusian ski jumper Denis Osipov occupied 13th position among 32 entrants in the first round, being knocked out.
After two stages of the Freestyle Ski World Cup, Belarus’ Dmitry Dashchinsky is ranked 4th and Gustik has risen from 21st to 6th place. Denis Osipov is placed 9th and Alexey Grishin occupies 14th position.