Sochi saw a lone aerials representative for the U.S. team in 18-year-old Mac Bohonnon. The young freestyle skier may not have bagged a medal, but his performance was nothing short of impressive.
The first-time Olympian finished fifth in the aerials final, besting seven other contenders. The fact that he was the only U.S. athlete competing for his country in the event did not deter him from giving a confident and solid performance. Teammates Ashley Caldwell and Emily Cook gave their support to Bohonnon by watching him from the bleachers and giving commentary with TV announcers.
The Connecticut native donned a lucky charm of sorts – a silver necklace with a skier pendant, which is identical to the one that belonged to a former teammate who passed away. The deceased teammate was Jaret “Speedy” Peterson who died in July 2011. Bohonnon said that he had Peterson in his thoughts as he competed in the aerials event.
The RosaKhutorExtremePark was packed with pressure and excitement as the aerial skiers displayed their high-flying stunts to a roaring crowd. Gold medalist Anton Kushnir of Belarus proved yet again why Belarus is considered home to aerial champions by executing a remarkable routine that included two double full jumps and a full jump. Belarus nabbed the gold medals in all men’s and women’s aerial events.
Bohonnon is not fazed by the results of the competition, and considers it a start of better things to come. His competitors are much older than he is, with Kushnir and Australian Dave Morris at 29 years old, and another Belarusian Dmitri Dashinki at 36 years old. Bohonnon said that he has grown much more confident about his skills after being able to compete against the best aerial skiers in the world, whom he has idolized for many years. He is now looking forward to earning a medal – possibly the gold one – in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Image via MacBohonnon.com