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American Ryan St. Onge, China's Li Nina win aerials at Freestyle World Cup event

RYAN St. Onge of the United States won for the first time in two years and Li Nina of China won the women's event in aerials competition at the Freestyle World Cup season opener yesterday.

St. Onge won his sixth career World Cup event and first since December 2006. Three of his titles have come at Deer Valley, where he hit a quadruple twisting, triple back flip to clinch the victory under the lights yesterday.

Liu Zhongqing of China, who was first after the qualifying round, finished second and World Cup leader Steve Omischl of Canada was third.

"During that second jump, I knew I was either going to be way too big and land on my head, or - if I could somehow get my feet underneath me - I knew it was going to be the biggest-scoring jump I could possibly do," said St. Onge.

"I just stretched for my life and somehow, my feet got down."

China's Guo Xinxin was second in the women's, ahead of American Emily Cook.

China was poised for a sweep of the podium, but Cheng Shuang took a fall right before Li's clinching jump. Cheng leaned forward on her landing and kept going after her skis hit. She tumbled to the bottom of the hill and lay still for a few moments as medical crews ran out on the snow to check on her.

After a few minutes, Cheng got up and walked off on her own.

Li still had to go with the final women's jump and did well enough to pass Guo, whose 108.11 on her second jump was the highest score of the night by almost 10 points.

Li led after qualifying with a new jump, a double back flip with two twists on each.

"I'm very, very happy today," she said. "It's first time in World Cup I did that jump."


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