Ashley Caldwell generated easily the best score of the women’s aerials qualifying round, generating a 101.25 score. No one else cracked 87.
Caldwell and Emily Cook represent the U.S. among six aerials skiers who made it straight to the finals from the first qualifying run while six more will qualify after the second. Cook came in fifth with an 80.01 score.
Caldwell, 20, blew away the competition in this round, but that doesn’t mean that she’s the only strong contender for gold. Cook as well as high-level Chinese and Australian competitors. Especially with 2014’s knockout format in mind.
Nina Li and Shuang Cheng of China already advanced while Danielle Scott did so for Australia, while Russia’s Assoli Slivets gives onlookers some local rooting interest.
Olympic triathlon champion Gwen Jorgensen is pregnant and will not compete this year.
“Just kind of take this year a little bit easier,” Jorgensen said in a video posted on Facebook on Thursday.
The baby is due Aug. 3, according to Jorgensen’s social media.
Jorgensen, 30, became the first U.S. Olympic triathlon champion in Rio after going in as the heavy favorite. She has said for months that she planned to take time off to have a baby before returning to defend her Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
Swiss Nicola Spirig, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2016 silver medalist, is reportedly expecting a child in May.
In Jorgensen and Spirig’s absences, the top triathletes going into the season are defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, U.S. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True and Britons Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.
Jorgensen’s last competition was the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, when she finished 14th in her first running race longer than 10 miles.
The World Triathlon Series kicks off in Abu Dhabi the first weekend of March.
MORE: Triathlon federation boss wants Olympic races shortened
The PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the first Winter Games in South Korea, are a little more than one year away.
A number of U.S. stars are establishing themselves in this winter sports season as medal contenders.
NBC Sports takes a look at some of those names to watch, as the U.S. looks to return to the top of the medal standings.
Russia earned the most medals at home in Sochi in 2014 with 33 medals, with the U.S. coming in second with 28. Those standings could change if Russian results are stripped due to its ongoing doping scandal.
The U.S. has never topped the total medal standings at a Winter Olympics outside of North America. It led the way at Lake Placid 1932 and Vancouver 2010.
VIDEO: PyeongChang 2018 Olympic venue tour