In her fifth and final Olympic Games, Alla Tsuper not only became an Olympic medalist but also an Olympic champion.
Tsuper was the last to advance out of the second semifinal into the main final, but then earned a 98.01 in the six-skier “super final” to claim the women’s aerials gold medal over China’s Xu Mengtao and 2010 Olympic champion Lydia Lassila of Australia.
Mengtao, the reigning world champion, was the last to go in the super final but had a scruffy landing that ultimately cost her the win against Tsuper, whose previous best Olympic finish was a fifth in her first Games at Nagano back in 1998.
She then finished ninth at Salt Lake City in 2002, 10th at Torino in 2006, and 8th at Vancouver in 2010 before breaking through for the most important medal of them all this evening in Sochi.
Team USA’s duo of Emily Cook and Ashley Caldwell both were unable to make the “super final”; Cook was eliminated in Final 2, while Caldwell was eliminated in Final 1.
FREESTYLE SKIING -WOMEN’S AERIALS
Super Final (Final 3)
1. Alla Tsuper (BLR), 98.01
2. Xu Mengtao (CHN), 83.50
3. Lydia Lassila (AUS), 72.12
8. Emily Cook (USA), Eliminated in Final 2
10. Ashley Caldwell (USA), Eliminated in Final 1