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Big air, big crashes

McArthur one of several victims who didn't complete both runs in event

— The fourth day of the Chevy Trucks Junior Olympic Freestyle Championships was all about going big.

Big tricks, big crashes and big air were the most popular items on the day’s menu. Unfortunately, local skier Charlie McArthur didn’t get to enjoy the main course.

He crashed while trying to land a D-spin on his second hit in the first run of the championship event. The wreck left him with a broken thumb and unable to complete the competition. He was just one of several victims who didn’t complete both runs in the big air event, which was held at the Steamboat terrain park.



“I couldn’t grip my pole for the second run,” McArthur said. “There were a lot of big crashes today.”

The cool morning temperatures turned to warm afternoon sun during the course of the event. The change seemed to catch some of the 90-plus skier field a bit off guard — or it might have been that the young skiers were just too busy pushing the limits of the sport to worry about the little things.



Like landing.

“It was a great contest,” Steamboat coach Joe Kelley said. “I would say we had some of the best new-school terrain park skiers in the world up there … these guys threw the whole gamut of new-school tricks.”

But by late Saturday afternoon, Katie Weir and Robert Walter had separated themselves from the rest of the best in this class of new-school athletes.

Weir netted 82.4 points on the two-hit run to top the women’s field. K Oakley followed her in second at 65.8 points and Lauren Rainen placed third with a score of 59.2.

Walter earned a score of 88.2 points from the judges on his best run of the day to earn the men’s title. Rafe Robinson was second at 87.8 and Mark Grzankowski was third with a score of 84.8. The top Steamboat finisher was Jake Cohn in 33rd.

Kelley said he was happy with the way the local skiers performed in the event despite McArthur’s bout with bad luck.

He said Cohn laid down a great first run but fell off the pace in the second.

The big air event was the fourth of five events that make up the Chevy Trucks Junior Olympic Championships. The final event is slated to take place today when the skiers hit the bumps of the Voo Doo ski run for the dual mogul event. That competition, which will be the final competition of the 2003 Junior Olympics, will begin at 10 a.m.


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