2022 Olympic Gold Medallist Jakara Anthony was spectacular, earning the highest turn and air points in the women’s super final to claim the fifth World Cup victory of her career for the 24-year-old from Barwon Heads in Victoria, with a huge score of 81.69, more than 3 points ahead of second place.
Behind Anthony on the podium was Perrine Laffont of France and Anri Kawamura of Japan finishing with identical 78.33 scores, with the tie break for second favouring Laffont.
“It’s my first win in Ruka ever,” Anthony said after stepping off the Ruka Podium.
“To kick off the season with the win and the yellow bib is pretty massive. You come into the first event and you don’t know what everyone’s been doing since last season, so it’s exciting to come out and see what everyone can do and show off what you’re capable of.”
“It’s a bit of a different experience for me this year, coming off such incredible experiences last season with the gold medal and the crystal globes,” Anthony continued, “I’ve definitely got a bit of a target on my back now and I think there’s going to be a lot of learning experiences this season, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
In the men’s event, 2018 Olympic Silver Medallist Matt Graham bounced back strongly from his injury interrupted Olympic season, to record the 19th podium of his World Cup career.
Joining Graham in finals were teammates Cooper Woods in tenth place, and rookie NSW Institute of Sport skier Jackson Harvey making finals in a very strong World Cup debut in 14th.
Canadian mogul skiing legend Mikael Kingsbury took home the victory scoring 84.5 points, ahead of Ikuma Horishima of Japan with 80.48 points, and Graham scoring 80.12
“I was over the moon to be back here skiing Ruka and competing again so to come away with third place is kind of nice”, said the 28-year-old from the NSW Central Coast.
“It’s been a long 12 months for me, getting injured before the Olympics, and then not having the best Olympic experience, and during the off season spending a lot of time rehabbing my collarbone which I broke last year, and not able to train as much as I would normally, so it’s nice to come here and know that I have still got it.”
Also in action for Australia making his debut was George Murphy in 49th.
The mogul skiing athletes will now head to the Swedish resort of Idre Fjäll for a double event next weekend on December 10-11.