Jonathon Lillis

U.S. sweeps world titles in aerials

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American Ashley Caldwell and Jonathon Lillis swept the aerials titles at the world freestyle skiing championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain on Friday.

It marked the second-ever U.S. aerials sweep at a worlds after Nikki Stone and Trace Worthington accomplished the feat in 1995.

Caldwell, a two-time Olympian, added her first world title to a resume that already included six World Cup wins and the 2016 World Cup season title. She finished fourth at her previous two worlds appearances.

In the super final, Caldwell became the first woman to land a quadruple twisting triple flip known as “The Daddy,” carrying nine tenths more in difficulty than any other competitor. She scored 109.29 points to top Australian Danielle Scott (94.47) and China’s Xu Mengtao (91.65). Xu and Scott have been the top two aerialists this season.

“Today was only the third time I’ve ever even tried [the jump],” Caldwell said, according to the International Ski Federation (FIS). “Before dropping in I was just thinking to myself, ‘This is my third one, at least if I crash I was doing something big and ballsy.'”

Lillis, aiming for his first Olympics in PyeongChang, is a surprise world champion. He owns one World Cup podium result, a runner-up in February 2016, and finished seventh and 24th in his two previous worlds appearances.

Lillis scored 125.79 in the men’s super final Friday, edging China’s Qi Guangpu (120.36) and Australian David Morris (114.93). Like Caldwell, Lillis performed a quadruple twisting triple flip, but ordering his twists and flips differently.

Qi won the previous two world titles. Morris is the 2014 Olympic silver medalist.

The U.S.’ only Olympic aerials titles came in 1998, when Stone and Eric Bergoust swept golds in Nagano. The sport has been on the Olympic program since 1994.

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