(Sportcom) – Marion Thénault, Miha Fontaine and Alexandre Duchaine were in high spirits after the first round of the mixed team aerials at the Ski Freestyle World Championships. The Canadian trio, united for the first time at the event, finished fifth in Georgia on Sunday.
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Duchaine joined the two Olympic medalists following the injury to Lewis Irving, who had to end his season last month.
Thénault was the first in the team to start. Bakuriani’s wind made it difficult for the athletes and they had to adapt accordingly.
The World Cup runner-up faltered slightly on landing and scored 76.23 points. Miha Fontaine and Alexandre Duchaine each had difficulties with their maneuvers. They scored 83.50 and 68.44, respectively.
“Right now the energy is low and we’re still disappointed,” said Thénault, who at 22 is the oldest in the Canada squad in Irving’s absence. It’s very windy here and that got us thinking. We couldn’t deal with this uncertainty, even though we had the right speed. In the end we had no confidence in our means.
The gusts have persisted for a few days in Bakuriani, also forcing the cancellation of a training session this week, in addition to extending those that may have been featured.
Since her final warm-up jump went poorly, Marion Thénault opted for simplicity with a less elaborate figure than originally planned.
“It was still conservative, but I have no regrets. The guys also changed their jump. In the end it wasn’t a question of difficulty but of execution. We lacked confidence and we managed everything wrong.
The three Quebecers collected 228.17 points, a little more than 8 points behind the Kazakhs and a place in the second heat, “despite big mistakes in all jumps”, Thénault pointed out.
The Americans became world champions with 331.37 points. The representatives from China (320.71) and Ukraine (255.56) also made it onto the podium.
“We know we can be on the podium but in the team event anything can happen and change drastically. We haven’t exhausted our abilities,” added Marion Thénault.
The three skiers have to turn the page quickly because the qualifications for the individual competitions are scheduled for Tuesday, while the finals will be held the following day.
Marion Thénault, three-time World Cup medalist this season, finished sixth at the 2021 World Championships in Almaty. Miha Fontaine and Alexandre Duchaine finished 22nd and 24th in Kazakhstan.
The team competition will have allowed them to have a good grasp of the winds and course to refine their preparation. Mental balance can sometimes be difficult to find when the wind is blowing and Thénault wants to be in the best possible mood this week.
“It’s not something you control, but it’s hard not to think about it too much. It’s a matter of scoring but also of safety if you don’t have the right speed, the Sherbrooke resident said. Our coaches are very good and take care of the data. We can trust them. Our job is to focus on our jumps and today we lacked confidence.
“I don’t want to experience another disappointment. It motivates me for the next few days and I don’t want to play it safe anymore! she closed.
Flavie Aumond and Émile Nadeau will join the three Quebecers in the individual events.