Bronze for Steamboat’s Kauf at World Championships
Steamboat Springs — Jaelin Kauf is a World Ski Championships medalist.
The Steamboat Springs freestyle moguls skier landed a bronze medal in dual moguls Thursday at the competition in Sierra Nevada, Spain.
“I’ve looked forward to coming to a World Championships for a long time. It was a goal this season for me to make it here, and to be here with our strong women’s team and make it on the podium is amazing,” Kauf said in a U.S. Ski Team news release. “It’s great to know that I can be up there.”
She won three head-to-head match-ups before losing in the semifinals to eventual gold medalist Perrine Laffont, from France. Kauf then bounced back to beat South Korean skier Jee-Won Seo in the consolation finals, locking up the medal.
The U.S. also scored a medal on the men’s side, where Butte, Montana, skier Bradley Wilson won silver.
Kauf grew up in Alta, Wyoming, then moved to Steamboat Springs, where she attended high school and trained for years. She’s is the first Steamboat athlete to score a World Championships podium since 2013.
She exploded onto the freestyle moguls scene a year ago, winning World Cup rookie of the year honors, and kept that pace up this season — her first time competing full time with the U.S. Ski Team and on the World Cup circuit.
Dual moguls has been her specialty. The first big result of her career, a third-place finish at the Deer Valley Resort, Utah, World Cup in 2016, came in duals. She then placed second in the event at the U.S. Freestyle National Championships in Steamboat last March and landed another podium, third again, at Deer Valley this year.
“I stopped skiing just to make it into finals or just to get a certain place,” she said in an interview with Steamboat Today earlier this week. “I just realized if I put down my run and ski how I know how to ski, I can make it there.”
Her first World Cup win came in duals at an event in Tazawako, Japan, last month. Thursday, she once again came away with a huge result in dual moguls.
Kauf was back in the pack, 21st, Wednesday in the individual moguls competition. It wasn’t indicative of how well she’s skied late this season. Everything was different a day later.
“Yesterday, I wasn’t skiing like myself — I wasn’t skiing fast. I knew today I just had to get back to how I was skiing and step it up,” she said in the news release. “I felt my turns were good in the middle section, and I stayed composed.”
Duals, she said, just suits her.
“There’s just something about duals,” she said. “It gets your adrenaline pumping. I see the person in the gate next to me, and I know I have to push it a little more. I don’t think about the technicality as much. I’m just thinking about getting down and beating whoever is next to me.”
Keaton McCargo was the next-best U.S. skier, placing eighth. Morgan Schild was 13th, and Olivia Giaccio, who also trained with Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, took 17th.
Thomas Rowley was seventh on the men’s side, Troy Murphy 11th and Dylan Walczyk 20th.
Japan’s Ikuma Horishima won the men’s contest, wrapping up a sweep of the men’s moguls World Championships gold medals. Swiss skier Marco Tade took the bronze medal.
Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva won silver on the women’s side.
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