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Silver for Peterson

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  February 25, 2010 09:50 PM

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- When Jeret Peterson landed the most daring jump in men's aerials, "The Hurricane," he also landed something else: a silver medal.

Peterson's score of 247.21 -- the tally of his two jumps in the competition, including the 128.62 he received for executing the five twist and three flips "The Hurricane" demands -- was good for second place in the men's aerials competition tonight at Cypress Mountain.

Peterson was in the middle of the pack after the first round of jumps, fifth among 12 competitors. After completing his second jump, Peterson rejoiced immediately, waving his arms in the air, smiling and pumping his fists, and hugging and high-fiving several people standing along the edge of the mixed zone. When his score was posted, his celebration was justified -- he moved into gold-medal position with just four aerialists remaining. His score for his second jump was the third-highest for any single jump in the competition.

Peterson was eventually bumped from the top slot by Belarus's Alexei Grishin, the second-to-last aerialist to take on the ramp. Grishin, who won a bronze in Salt Lake City eight years ago but did not medal in 2006 in Turin, Italy, finished with a combined score of 248.41, just 1.20 points ahead of Peterson.

Kyle Nissen of Canada led after the first round, but he received just a 112.39 on his second jump, finishing fifth overall with a score of 239.31 to put him behind behind silver medalist Liu Zhongqing of China (242.53) and fourth-place finisher Ryan St. Onge of the US (239.93).

The medal comes with a touch of redemption for Peterson, a three-time Olympian who finished ninth in the event in 2002 at Salt Lake City and seventh in 2006 at Turin, Italy. Four years ago, Peterson couldn't complete the landing on "The Hurricane," and he was later sent home from the games after punching a friend in the face.

The medal is the third for the US in the event, along with the gold by Eric Bergoust (1998) and silver by New Hampshire's Joe Pack (2002).

* * *

9:58 p.m. Peterson' gets bumped to silver by Belarus's Alexei Grishin. Only Canada's Kyle Nissen remains, so he is assured of at least a bronze medal.

China's Liu Zhongqing is second with a score of 242.53.

9:52 p.m.: Judging by his jubiliation after returning to earth, Jered Peterson just nailed "The Hurricane," also knowns as a back/full/triple-full/full combo that includes five spins and three spins . . .

. . . and his score confirms his gravity-defying, disorienting-just-to-watch second jump. Peterson takes over the top spot from St. Onge, scoring a 128.62 on a jump that had a 4.900 degree of difficulty.

His score of 247.21 is nearly eight points better than that of St. Onge, who sits in silver-medal position.

There are four aerialists remaining, so at the least, Peterson appears to have a good shot at a medal.

Update, 9:42: Five aerialists into the second round, and Ryan St. Onge of the US has the lead with a combined score of 239.93 after a second jump of 124.66.

With seven skiers with higher first-round scores still to come, it's unlikely he'll hold on to the top spot, but it was an impressive second jump nonetheless.

Update, 9:34: Because they jump in reverse order of finish, Peterson will jump eighth in the second round, just as he did in the first.

Funny little item from the scene: There is a white couch set up in the mixed zone for those who are in the top three positions. When someone is bumped from the top three, they have to get up and leave. It probably looks more awkward than it is. Given that this is on NBC, it's a mild surprise Jay Leno isn't sitting at a desk next to them throwing out one-liners that are weaker than . . . well, this one.

I'll stop.

Update, 9:25: So after the first of two rounds is complete, Jeret Peterson medal hopes remain in decent shape.

He's in fifth place, having been bumped down one more spot by the last of 12 jumpers, China's Jia Zongyang, who took over fourth place.

Canadian Kyle Nissen remains in the top spot, but his score is only 8.35 higher than Peterson's. The scores of each aerialists two jumps are combined to determine the winner.

Think it's time for a Hurricane warning?

Update, 9:15: Not a bad jump at all by Peterson, but if he is going to medal, he's going to have to nail "The Hurricane."

Peterson is in fourth place after his back/full/double/double-full maneuver, with four of the 12 competitors remaining. His jump had a degree of difficulty of 4.425 -- the same as that of eight others in the first round -- and he received a score of 118.57 from the judges.

He appeared to smoothly deliver all of his moves while in the air but stumbled a bit upon landing, though he did not fall. He celebrated as if he thought the score would be higher than it was, pumping his fist and hugging a few people in Team USA clothing along the edge of the mixed zone.

Ryan St. Onge of the US is in seventh place with one aerialist remaining.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The men's aerials are underway at Cypress Mountain. The conditions are considerably improved over last night, when the women's aerialists competed in foggy, snowy conditions.

We're keeping an eye on Jeret Peterson, who goes eighth in the first of two jumps. Peterson is expected to attempt his signature move, "The Hurricane," in his second jump. It's dangerous and difficult -- it includes five midair spins and three flips and has the highest degree of difficulty, 4.900, of any jump any aerialist will attempt tonight.

His first jump will be coming up momentarily -- the sixth jumper, Belarus's Alexei Grishin, just completed his first attempt a second ago, earning a 120.58 to take second place. Canada's Kyle Nissen is first at 126.92 through six competitors.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Peterson's difficult (to say the least) background, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan wrote an outstanding, richly detailed column about him Tuesday. Here's the link.

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