Freestyle skier Onozuka places second in halfpipe competition


Ayana Onozuka was runner-up in a freestyle skiing World Cup halfpipe event on Friday, securing her third podium finish in as many meets this season.

The Sochi Olympic bronze medalist was on top after her first run with 88.80 points but failed to improve in her other two attempts, and allowed Maddie Bowman, the Sochi champion, to take over with her final run, when the American uncorked “the 900” a 2-1/2 turn spin to score 89.80.

“There was fatigue, it wasn’t a full-mark performance. But amid a series of events, I did all I could now,” said Onozuka. “I do have to reflect on being unable to improve my score with my second and third runs.”

The 27-year-old’s effort to polish her fundamentals since going on the road in late November has been paying dividends, but not enough to topple her rival Bowman, who beat her in X Games a week earlier too.

“The 900 holds the key. Compared to Maddie, my degree-of-difficulty skill is lacking,” said Onozuka, who leads the halfpipe standings with 240 points.